preserve Oldham County heritage
Mansion in Crestwood is in the program
Helen E. McKinney
A year after purchasing his 1,440-acre farm in 1984, David
Gleason knew he wanted to preserve his land from future urban development.
Waldeck Farm in Crestwood, Ky., is just one of 11 agricultural districts
in the county that are serious about agriculture, he said.
Gleason joined the Agricultural District Program in October
1985. At the time, the city of Crestwood was considering annexing the
farm to become a part of the city. That would mean constructing a road
through his property. Enrolling in the program was added protection
against development and annexation because he knew he wanted the farm
to be involved in agricultural production on a long-term basis.
When he began farming the property, Gleason raised registered Angus
cattle. He now primarily produces corn, soybeans, hay and wheat. His
home, the Waldeck Mansion, is listed on the National Register of Historic
Places, adding credentials to his preservation efforts.
The purpose of the Agricultural District Program is to provide a resource
to protect and enhance agricultural land as a viable segment of the
states economy and as a natural resource, officials say. Participants
try to minimize the conversion of some of the states best agricultural
land for urban development.
Many land owners want to conserve their land to make a statement
to the area around them, said Kurt Mason, USDA NRCS District Conservationist
for Oldham, Jefferson and Bullitt counties. There are currently 426
certified agricultural districts in Kentucky containing approximately
381,429.07 acres. Seventy-three counties participate, with the three
largest agricultural districts located in Christian, Hickman and Woodford
Gleason said he has always been into preservation. He credits
fellow Oldham County farmer Mark Timmons with bringing the program to
by Helen McKinney
Mansion in Crestwood is part
of an agricultural district, which helps
to preserve it from development.
The Agricultural District Program is a result of the Agricultural
District Law, passed by Kentuckys General Assembly on July 15,
1982. Original legislation arose from the Agricultural Land Study and
Policy Committee, formed in 1981 by then-Gov. John Y. Brown Jr.
This law states that a landowner or group of landowners can petition
their local conservation district to form as an agricultural district.
The land must be used for the production of livestock or poultry, and
for raising tobacco or other agricultural crops.
There has to be a minimum of 250 contiguous acres to start a district,
said Mason. The state Conservation Commission and the local water and
conservation district board administer the program.
Each landowner within a district must have at least 10 acres without
a homestead on the land or 11 acres with a homestead. If the land is
used for horticultural purposes, there must be five acres without a
There are several benefits for landowners who enroll in the program,
and different levels of protection are also offered. It allows
them to make a good statement as to their intentions to use their land
for agricultural purposes, said Mason.
One major benefit, as in Gleasons case, is that a landowners
land cannot be annexed. The land is also eligible for differential assessment
by the local Property Valuation Administrator.
If a state project affects the land, there has to be a public hearing,
and the state has to provide viable reasons for going through the land,
Mason said. This program has contributed to protecting many family farms
across the state.
Every five years, landowners in the district must go through a re-certification
process to determine if they want to commit to an ongoing agricultural
enterprise for another five years.
We are currently in the process of completing the paperwork for
the certification of our 11th district. That will bring the total acres
in Oldham County enrolled in the program to 7,664 acres, said
Shauna Buchert, District Program Coordinator for the Oldham County Conservation
A big percentage of the enrolled land in Oldham County is related to
some type of lifestyle choice, said Mason. A significant amount of land
has been added in the Brownsboro area relating to livestock and horses.
Mason credits these upsurges to the recent restructuring of Oldham Countys
Comprehensive Plan and the inclusion of designated acreage that contains
For more information about the program, visit:
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