Farmland Protection
By Kathryn Menue
BOONE COUNTY – Each county, each city, each community has a special aspect that makes it unique. Some cities are comprised of industrialization, some grow off marketing, and some are more commercial, while others are based on an agricultural foundation; that’s where Boone County sits. Boone County is heart and soul a farming community.
Of course, like any community, Boone County does incorporate other factors, such as small business and big industry with the Chrysler plant, yet a great portion of Boone County is dedicated to farmlands.
With such a strong farmland structure providing for the county, Boone County has established the Boone County Agricultural Conservation Easement and Farmland Protection Commission and the Farmland Protection Project to preserve the farmlands of the past and present and to ensure a stable future for Boone County.
The Farmland Protection Project’s mission is to preserve food, water, recreation, and quality of life for the future generations of Boone County. To ensure the continuation of Boone County’s stability, the board of the Farmland Protection Project advises farmers to register their farmland under conservation easement.
Conservation easement is taking development rights off of farmlands, so that farms cannot be sold for real estate development. The farms under conservation easement can still be sold, but only for the continuation of farming.
Residential homes can still be built on these farmlands as well, but some of the land must be dedicated to farming.
“I think that the conservation easement is important because it just ensures there’ll be that agricultural presence in the community,” Gina DelRose, Farmland Protection Project Secretary and Boone County Agricultural Conservation Easement Associate Planner, said.
DelRose continued by stating that the conservation easement also allows farmers to know their farm will be safe, even if their children do not want to continue farming. They won’t have to worry about being pressured by developers wanting them to sell. With the conservation easement, they know their farm will go to someone who wants to continue farming.
Currently, there are only two farms in Boone County that are registered under conservation easement.
The first farm is Bruce Stennerson’s 150-year-old farm in Manchester Township.
The second farm registered under the conservation easement is owned by Richard and Karen Gadke of Capron.
“We’re hoping by preserving this farmland that this farm can be farmed by other young farmers who want to pursue their dream of owning and operating a farm,” Richard Gadke said.
The conservation easement also preserves a unique sense of history for Boone County.
In Boone County off of Woodstock and Loveridge Road, one farm has a baseball field in their cornfield. Rumor has it, DelRose said, that when a film crew was working on the movie, Field of Dreams, that they considered using the baseball field that is located on the Boone County farm. However, they decided to go with another farm in Iowa, but the unique baseball cornfield is still a landmark that Boone County can treasure and preserve.
According to DelRose, by preserving these farmlands, the farms will be able to produce and distribute locally grown food that is healthier than the imported foods that can often be recalled. Whereas, when food is locally grown, consumers know where it is coming from and they know how it is made.
“We would love if more families placed their farms in conservation easement,” DelRose said.
Plus, under the farm bill and county codes, farmers can receive tax incentives for placing their farms under conservation easement.
For farmers looking to preserve their land for future generations, conservation easement is always an option.
For more information on the Boone County Agricultural Conservation Easement and Farmland Protection Commission, please go online to:
For more information on the Farmland Protection Project, please visit:

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