Once applications are received for any given year, the applications are evaluated based on three major factors: Soil Quality, Development Potential Factors, and Clustering Potential Factors. The end result of the evaluation is a numerical score. Depending on the score a farm receives, it is inserted into a waiting list. As farms listed above are preserved, other farms on the waiting list move up. However, if new applicants score higher than existing applicants on the waiting list, they get a higher rank. Each year, the program receives funding from the state to preserve farms, and there is usually enough funding to work with 2-3 applicants per year.
Once an application rises to the top of the list, the first step is to do an appraisal. The appraisal evaluates the farm based on Fair Market Value and Farm Value. The difference between the two values is the Easement Value. The Board has customarily offered applicants the full Easment Value. If the applicant does not want to accept the Board's offer, they have the option of getting a second appraisal done at their own cost. Once that appraisal is done, a formula, taking into consideration both appraisals, is used to determine the Formula Easement Value.
The application deadline for each year is February 1st. For more information about the program, or to find out how to apply, contact James Ferry.