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New Agreements Protect Thousands of Acres of WV Farmland

With four new agreements in place, Jefferson County has now permanently protected more than 2,500 acres of farmland from development.

The latest agreements cover 44 acres in Harpers Ferry and 112 acres in Shepherdstown.

Farmland Protection Board administrator Elizabeth Wheeler says that brings the total acreage protected since the program began to 2,562 acres.

Wheeler told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland the board has secured commitments and funding to protect another 845 acres.

The conservation program began in 2000. Under it, landowners retain the full use of their property, but permanently give up their rights to develop it.

The board pays the difference in value as farmland, typically about $2,500 to $3,000 per acre, and the value if it were being developed. That's typically $7,500 to $8,000 per acre.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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