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   Donation of an Agricultural 
   Conservation Easement
 

Landowners may donate an agricultural conservation easement on their farm, or a portion thereof, to the County of Berks in conjunction with the Commonwealth, an eligible nonprofit entity, or a local government unit, or any combination of these.  If a portion is donated, it may be done so in conjunction with the balance of the land applying to the Berks County Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE Program).  

The donation of an agricultural conservation easement may be acquired if all the following apply: 

1.  The land is used for agricultural production;

2.  The term of the agricultural conservation easement is perpetual;

3.  The County Board provides for the acquisition by donation of an agricultural conservation easement;

4.  The agricultural conservation easement is being acquired by donation by the County Board in conjunction with the Commonwealth, an eligible nonprofit entity, or a local government unit, or any combination of these;

5.  Instruments and documents for the acquisition by donation of an agricultural conservation easement are approved by the State Board or the County Board, as the case may be, prior to execution and delivery.  Proper releases from mortgage holders and lienholders must be obtained and executed to insure that all agricultural conservation easements are acquired by donation free and clear of all encumbrances;

6.  The agricultural conservation easement has title insurance;

7.  The deed of agricultural conservation easement is as prescribed by the State Board for agricultural conservation easements purchased by the Commonwealth;

8.  The County Board records an agricultural conservation easement acquired by donation by the County in the office of the recorder of deeds of the county wherein the agricultural conservation easement is located and submits to the State Board a certified copy of the agricultural conservation easement within 30 days after recording; and,

9.  If the land does not meet the minimum criteria established by the State Board for purchase of an agricultural conservation easement, the land shall be contiguous to property which is subject to an agricultural conservation easement. 

The costs associated with the donation such as survey work, title insurance, and recording fees may be paid for by the County of Berks, if it is found that the donation is consistent with the goals of the program.  The County of Berks may seek from the Commonwealth a maximum of $5,000 per easement for all costs, except administrative costs, incurred by the County Board incident to the acquisition by donation of an agricultural conservation easement.