Bluegrass Conservancy is pleased to announce that we are applying to the national Land Trust Accreditation Program. A public comment period for our application is now open.
The Land Trust Accreditation Program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. The Commission conducts an extensive review of each applicant's policies and programs before making a determination to award accreditation.
The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Bluegrass Conservancy complies with a set of accreditation indicator practices selected from Land Trust Standards and Practices. These practices demonstrate a land trust’s ability to operate in an ethical, legal, and technically sound manner and ensure the long-term protection of land in the public interest. For the full list of indicator practices, go to www.landtrustaccreditation.org/getting-accredited/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, please visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org/current-applicants/action-public-comment. Comments may also be faxed to 518-587-3183 or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments, 112 Spring Street, Suite 204, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Comments on Bluegrass Conservancy’s accreditation application would be appreciated by Saturday, May 19, 2012. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Generous landowners who donate conservation easements to Bluegrass Conservancy are inspired by many things: love of the Bluegrass Region, connection to their land, and desire to leave a legacy for future generations. This inspiration is central to our work to permanently protect valuable agricultural, natural, historic, and scenic resources. In addition, donating a conservation easement can provide major financial benefits through federal income tax deductions and estate tax savings.
After a year-long lapse that left many important conservation donations in limbo, Congress recently renewed a 2006 incentive that enables farmers, ranchers, and other landowners to get a significant income tax benefit for donating a conservation easement on their land. The legislation allows donors to use their appraised conservation easement value to:
This invaluable conservation tool has helped Bluegrass Conservancy work with willing landowners to protect more than 7,000 acres since the expanded income tax incentive was first enacted in 2006. Landowners who act quickly to conserve their land in 2011 can now enjoy these benefits, but unless Congress acts again, those benefits will be dramatically scaled back after December 31st, 2011.
Lapses in the enhanced incentive hamper our strategic conservation efforts and are frustrating for landowners. That’s why the land trust community is working so hard to enact legislation to make the enhanced incentive permanent. Executive Director Mackenzie Royce said, “It is important to conserve productive agricultural lands, natural habitats, historic landscapes, and scenic open space in the Bluegrass Region. The enhanced tax incentive is an essential conservation tool at a time when land conservation needs all the resources it can muster.”
As an example, under the prior law, a farmer earning $75,000 a year who donated a conservation easement worth $1 million could take a total of no more than $135,000 in tax deductions. Under the new law, that farmer can take the full $1 million in tax deductions – a significant increase.
Land conservation takes a team to be successful. We thank our members, conservation easement donors, and Congressional delegation for their invaluable contributions.
To learn more about the enhanced incentive visit call Bluegrass Conservancy at 859-255-4552 today.
Bluegrass Conservancy has reached a milestone of over 10,000 permanently conserved acres by 2010. Our most recent conservation easements protect a geographic expanse of history-laced land, from the birthplace of one of 2009’s most successful and celebrated racehorses, Rachel Alexandra, to the family farm of Kentucky’s first and fifth governor, Isaac Shelby.
This year’s parcels range in size from twenty acres to 700 acres and build a critical mass of conserved properties which save our endangered cultural landscape, contribute to our local economy, reduce our cost of community services, and honor our unique brand identity and “sense of place.” No public dollars are spent on these easements that also cover extensive scenic road frontage, geologic formations, water sources, key soils, forests, wildlife habitat, and historic resources.
“This is an incredible moment for our land trust,” says Executive Director Mackenzie Royce. “We treasure the community’s support of our work and are honored by our partnership with each conservation easement donor.”
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and Bluegrass Conservancy. These flexible agreements are tailored to the landowner’s objectives and property in order to conserve the land for agriculture and/or other open space activities, thereby ensuring that our unique Bluegrass landscape is protected for future generations.