Kaptur sponsors Black Swamp conservation bill

a press release by Black Swamp Conservancy

Perrysburg, OH (September 24, 2009) Private landowners-and especially family farmers-will be the beneficiaries of legislation, co-sponsored by Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), to make permanent the federal tax incentive for donations of conservation easements.

The incentive, which is slated to expire at the end of 2009, has helped Black Swamp Conservancy work with willing landowners to conserve over 3,500 acres of agricultural land and natural areas since it was first enacted in 2006.

H.R. 1831, and its Senate companion, S. 812, will aid in the protection of millions of acres of the nation's agricultural lands and open spaces by making permanent an expiring incentive that allows modest-income landowners to receive significant tax savings for donating conservation easements that permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their lands.

"Representative Marcy Kaptur has co-sponsored H.R. 1831 and all of us at Black Swamp Conservancy are extremely pleased," said Kevin Joyce, executive director of Black Swamp Conservancy. "She knows how important it is to conserve every last acre of invaluable open space, productive agricultural lands, historic landscapes and buffers to our drinking water supplies in northwest Ohio. The enhanced incentive is an essential conservation tool at a time when land conservation needs all the resources it can muster."

According to Joyce, when landowners donate conservation easements to an organization like Black Swamp Conservancy, they maintain ownership and management of their land and can pass the land on to their heirs, while foregoing their rights to develop the land in the future. A permanent incentive will help more families afford to save their land, choose conservation over land development, and, by so doing, protect our community's clean air and water, scenic and historic landscapes, recreational places and wildlife habitat.

The incentive, which applies to a landowner's federal income tax, will:

  • Raise the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation easement from 30% of their income in any year to 50%;
  • Allow farmers to deduct up to 100% of their income; and
  • Increase the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from 6 to 16 years.

According to the Land Trust Alliance, the national organization that provides a voice for land trusts in Washington, DC, a majority of the House and a quarter of the Senate have already co-sponsored legislation to make the incentive permanent. The legislation is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Ducks Unlimited, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and many conservation organizations.

About Black Swamp Conservancy

Black Swamp Conservancy, founded in 1993, is a non-profit land trust established to protect and preserve natural and agricultural lands for the benefit of future generations. The Conservancy has permanently protected 8,090 acres of woods, farmland, shoreline, meadows and wetlands at over 70 locations in eleven northwest Ohio counties and in Monroe County, Michigan. More information about the conservancy is available online at www.blackswamp.org.