Directed by RCW 89.10.010 and housed within SCC, the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) works to address the loss of agricultural land in Washington state.
The Farmland Protection and Land Access (FPLA) program was established via proviso in the Washington State 2022 Supplemental Capital Budget (SSB 5651), Section 3050. FPLA complements the “Buy-Protect-Sell” category of FarmPAI, a program of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. FPLA serves the dual purpose of permanently protecting high-quality farmland and facilitating access to land for next-generation farmers and ranchers.
FarmPAI provides conservation entities with low-interest loans for the fee-simple acquisition of at-risk farmland. FPLA grants fund the purchase of an agricultural conservation easement. The agricultural conservation easement ensures the land stays open and available for farming in perpetuity. By restricting or removing certain development rights that are incompatible with agriculture, FPLA-funded agricultural conservation easements make farmland more affordable for the future farm owner.
Through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Sponsorship (ACES) program, OFP acts as a project sponsor and SCC the easement holder on agricultural conservation easement projects developed by conservation districts. ACES provides a pathway for conservation districts to access grants made available by the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) to permanently protect farmland in their district.
The Office of Farmland Preservation published a workbook (available in English and Spanish) for families who want to keep their farmland in production as it passes to the next generation. Topics covered in the workbook include developing your vision, evaluating farm resources, understanding farm transfer tools, and preparing to meet with professional advisers.