Agricultural Easement Programs

800px-Farming_near_Klingerstown,_PennsylvaniaIf you live in an American city, you know that the word “easement” means an area on your land that the government says must be used for a specific purpose. For example, many Americans homeowners have easements in their backyards (the outside area behind your house) so that private companies (or the government itself) can erect (put up; install) electricity and telephone poles (very tall, slim pieces of wood or metal that wires are attached to in order to keep them off the ground). Easements are also sometimes used to provide areas maintained by the government that allow rainwater to flow into sewers (a system of underground tunnels carrying waste water).

However, if you’re a farmer (person who grows crops for food), you may be familiar with agricultural easement programs, which set aside (keep for a certain use) land specifically for farming. As cities grow, it is often more profitable (making more money) for landowners (people who own land) to sell their land to housing and business developers (builders) than to use that land for farming. At the same time, there is a trend (effort or movement toward something) for locally-grown food, food that is produced nearby, not transported long distances. The logic behind (the reasons for) locally-grown food, according to its supporters, is that the food is fresher and less energy and fuel are used to transport the food to those who buy it.

To try to protect farmland from disappearing, especially around American cities, the government established agricultural easement programs. These programs actually pay landowners to use their land for farms or to sell their land to people who want to farm. According to some sources, about 1.1 million acres of land are part of these agricultural easement programs throughout the country, at the cost to the government of $2.3 billion.

These programs have had mixed (not clearly good or bad) results. Some say that easement land is still too expensive to buy for farming, with some young farmers opting to (choosing to) rent land to farm. Others believe that these conservation (actions taken to keep things as they are) efforts are necessary to keep American farming alive and for environmental protection purposes.

Are farmlands disappearing around the cities where you live? Are there efforts to protect farmland and farming?

– Jeff

Photo Credit:  Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania from Wikipedia

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14 Responses to Agricultural Easement Programs

  1. Dan says:

    Thanks Jeff,

    I am ignorant on the subject and I did not even find a satisfactory Italian translation of that term.

    I did read an article about the Keystone pipeline running from Canada to the south of the US
    and that is a lot of “easement”. They had/have to ask 2,150 properties in five states!

    Understandably, not everyone is happy with that, many say “not in my backyard”

    There I found it! in Italian legal language it is called “Servitù” in the case of land “servitù prediale” from the Latin “praedium” which means “land”
    All this come from the lagal framework of ancient Rome.

    See guys! I know many things. When you want to know something, just ask to SuperDan. 😉

  2. emiliano says:

    He Jeff, I like the picture colors it is beautiful, it seems irreal.

    In Europe there is a “Common Agricultural Policy” for the countries that form
    the Europe Union and as far as I know there is in Brussels where the norms respect
    Agricultura subjects are ruled.
    So in fact countries have little to do about its own agricultura policy and of course
    it is very difficult to find farms around the big cities over here in Spain.

    For young people in the big cities it seems that food comes from the supermarket
    shelves instead of the farms as they scarcely could see a farm near the cities.

    When my three daughter were children I liked to show them a farm or the land where
    corns were growing if we were staying in the middle of the field for one or two
    nights. I could remember it clearly and they were amused thinking that the bread
    comes from that seeds and so forth.

    Thank you Jeff that´s an interesting topic.


  3. emiliano says:

    Sorry Jeff, nothing to be with the subject but it is time to go finishing the little story.



    Well, that´s could be good says Emiliano, what about going for a walk Cuca?, o.k., that´s good, I like to talk with you, do you want to see the Christmas lights in Castellana street, Emiliano?. Right, sure it would be nice to see them, it is a lovely weather outside despite we are close near Christmas, don´t you think so?.
    “Yes, it is, so let´s go to see the lights, sure you´ll like them. Be sure about that, Cuca, I will like them very much walking with you at my side and having that so nice talks we had before”.


    That´s what Emiliano is thinking, but say nothing to her as it is necessary to go slowly with the girl.
    He says, yes, it would be so nice to go for a walk and have a chat together like other we had before.
    Saying that they are stepping down the street and going to Castellana promenade, where the lights have been displayed for Christmas.
    It is a beautiful nice show and Cuca likes it very much.
    Christmas it is not a cheerful time for Emiliano and he is telling the girl accordingly with his feelings.
    Watching the Promenade they go up the street and reach Cibeles Circus that was the top of the lights exhibition in the city. Left up it is Alcala street till Sol Square, and right up it is Gran Via street till España Square. By the right follows Castellana Promenade till Atocha Square, and behind there is Alcala Street till the Alcala Door Square where the lights were splendors. It was really a wonderful sight by all means, the air was full of Christmas songs and just the moment seems magic for the couple.
    After a while walking Emiliano is telling her if she likes to have something like a coffee or a cup of tea in a nice tea shop close near them. Cuca agrees and they go into the nice tea/coffee shop ant take a seat beside a little table, they ask for a cup of tea and continue talking eagerly giving information about their life in the last months.
    Cuca told her problems and feelings about breaking his relationship with Jose Luis while Emiliano is listening to her without losing a word from her lips. He says nothing that could disturb the girl but inside him happiness it is his inner feelings. “This relation is over, he thinks, good, very good indeed, I am going to care her as she can´t imagine”. He says to her that soon he is returning to the Bank as his army service it is over too and he is happy now looking at future with hopes.
    They talk also about the exams and the people who have passed them, also the number they have gotten in the list it is important because it means how the exams were made and the money they could get by occupying the site for long or short time, just since the time this site has being free without being occupied once again for a new official. To be clear, all the time the site has to be occupied without being so it will be the difference of month’s salary between auxiliary and official multiplied by the months since that date of the lack sit till the date they are going to work like officials instead auxiliary.
    It could be a lot of money, but it depends of the list´s number. There are 150 sites to be occupied by the candidates and both of them, Cuca and Emiliano, have got a good approved number at the list.
    She has been among the first ten, either Emiliano has been among the first twenty by his exams, but for him it has been a not good report from his boss or even the fact of being out from the Bank now, doing his army service, has been something wrong to get a nice good report. That inform has motivated he has been situated far from the first hundreds of the definitive list of approved people. He is disappointed but nothing about the subject it could be done.
    Cuca by the contrary has received a very good report from her boss and she has been situated even in a better number of the list that the one she got by her exams.
    Sitting in the tea-shop the two youngs were happy, talking about their life, their late months, the time goes up and soon they have to leave going up to Cuca´s house. It was Emiliano´s chance to date her again and he is asking her if the could see each other another time.
    She thinks and says, yes, our talk is really nice and I enjoy walking with you Emiliano. What do you think of seeing us again next Saturday, Cuca?. But next Saturday is tomorrow, says Cuca.
    Yes, it is tomorrow, so do you like to see me tomorrow about seven p.m., close to you street, Cuca? it suit you well dear?, Yes, it would be nice, just in the corner of the Hermosilla street with Alcala, do you know where?, emiliano?. Yes, I think I know the site, it is less of five minutes from your house, Cuca? Yes, it is over there, then till seven p.m., tomorrow.
    Of course, I will see you tomorrow at seven p.m. o’clock Cuca.
    Bye, bye.


    Emiliano is dreaming awake.

    Emiliano is dreaming when he is going home, what has happened this afternoon, he ask himself, is it real, sure? I am not dreaming? I am going to see her tomorrow? How? Nobody was in the academy? Why? Dozens of questions were in his mind till the moment he is at home and talk with his mother and sisters.
    Nothing has any importance now, only the fact he is going to see this nice girl Maria José that seems pleases with the thought they are going to see each other.
    Nerves, Emiliano is nerves thinking what to do, were to go with Cuca, and what is going to happens tomorrow.
    Otherwise he is happy, it is so incredible to meet her that way, suddenly, without advise, and what is even the best “she is free of that inappropriate boy” that was with her. This is the incredible dream of today, free land to be together, to walk, to talk, to go which ever place they like, and to let his feelings free to see and love her every moment. Now it is clear to Emiliano he loves Cuca just from the first moment he saw her in the class room and she said to him, “he, are you new, aren´t you?” and he said, “yes it is my second day here”.
    Love at first sight that is what happened to me, is thinking Emiliano as he is going home. Afterward, alone in his bed he follows thinking in the girl and all the circumstances of today, finding her alone, in the academy. What has happened with the feast, where were the other people?, she and me alone in the building and not anybody inside it?, it was a mistake of Cuca and me to be there thinking there was a feast?, it is sure that feast will be another day, but I don´t care anymore, I have find what I was looking for, just her.
    It is nearly a year since the first time he has seen her and Maria Jose has been always in his heart and mind without allowing that his feelings to her were out, clear, understandable for him. Now everything is different, the miracle has been done and the treasure it is at his hand, waiting for him, so his feelings are outside at last and it is like a dream for this boy.
    That incredible nice beautiful girl has been talking with him all the evening, sitting close to him like old friends that have a long time they have not seen each other. Air was magic in the atmosphere that surrounds them inside this little house tee when they were for nearly two hours talking. How incredible nice she is, how relaxed he feels beside Maria Jose, how marvelous looks the world when they are together, it is clear that loves make miracles and this sceptic boy is funny, amusing, cheerful when he is with the girl he likes so much. He doesn´t think on anything, just let the time goes on enjoying the moment, every second, looking her face and listening to every word the girl says. Is it love? Yes, it must be as any other idea it is incompressible for him. He has fallen in love since a long time but now it is even more without any kind of subjection to his feelings.
    Life seems so beautiful to this boy now that the idea of returning back to the bank the second day of next January it is far away from his thoughts. Today is twenty of December, so there is some days to be with Maria Jose before he is again at work free from the army service for ever. It is over, he could do which ever thing they like with his life, and now what he wants is being with Maria Jose and don´t spoil anything with her, she needs to feel herself free and relaxed after her breaking with that boy, don´t press her Emiliano, just give Cuca time enough to change her mind to your favor. Let her to love you little by little and don´t go too fast with this sensible girl.
    Thinking about the changes of his life Emiliano fall asleep with nice marvelous hopes to the following days of Christmas.

    To be continued….

  4. emiliano says:

    Sorry friends, reading the story now I have seen a mistake that Cuca confirms me.
    It is that after being in the tea shop we were going together till her house.

    Of course it was the right thing to do if I wanted to meet her again, so in the corner of
    Alcalá and Hermosilla we dated again for the following day, saturday 21st of
    December, just in the same corner at seven p.m.

    There is something I have to correct.

    Thank you, bye, emiliano

  5. Dan says:


    I was thinking while reading, how it was possible back then living without a smartphone?
    If you just introduce it in your story everything could have gone differently.
    Instead of talking Coca would be texting.

    You know, today works that way.


  6. emiliano says:

    Dan, you can´t imagine how much has changed everything, and yes that´s true.

    It is another point o view, great. emiliano

  7. elcomandant says:

    Hi Emiliano and Dan. Or must I to call both of you Super Emi and Super Dan?. 😀

    Because if Dan says that he knows a lot of things, it is true too that Emiliano is a wise man. I believe it’s, among other things, because life have taught him a lot. I know it very well because I am sixty years old. 🙂

    Anyway I enjoy reading things you both write everyday here. 😉

    I don’t know much about farmers, landowners and crops. But what I know is that in my city and towns nearby not many years ago there was a lot of land dedicated to grow crops, mainly vegetable garden. However, as time went by, city and towns have gone growing and land for growing crops have gone reducing. I don’t know the % exactly but it is alarming.

    So, I think it’s necessary to take the appropriate steps in this concern and the government is doing it.


  8. emiliano says:

    elcomandant, thank you so much (muchisimas gracias amigo de Valencia) it true what you said about
    living so may years. It is said that “devil knows a lot more by old than by devil” it could be the same
    with this “old man” or devil as you prefer dear friend.
    Yes, I could remember being a young boy lot of land dedicated to grow crops even here close to Madrid
    downtown, what is now Chamartin, where I was living with my parents.
    It was near where it is now the football stadium of Real Madrid, up Paseo de la Castellana to Plaza de
    Castilla, so if you have been in Madrid elcomandant it seems like incredible such a change.

    Thanks a lot elcomandant dear friend of years an years here in this ESL blog, you are one of the seniors
    too. My best and congratulation for you great family.


  9. Øyvor says:

    Hi Jeff!

    Thanks for another intersting topic! Haven´t heard that word before..easement…
    In Norway we are facing some problems related to agricultural land.. more people want to live nearby our few cities, and it`s always a discussion where to build new buildings,
    as we want to protect these tiny amount of farming land that we actually have here. WE have strict laws to protect land that is suitable for growing food. Unfortunaltely the best areas
    for growing food is near the cities.
    Locally grown food are important, for the reason you alos mentioned.
    I`m living in an area with mountains, but I can see possibilities for the future even here..if people want to. Localy grown herbs and vegetables, we have lots of wild berries if
    someone is willing to pick them.. seems like my generation is more willing to do such work now.
    My hope is that people will be aware of all these possibilities..
    In my backyard I grow parsley, other herbs and sometimes carrots and taste wonderful, totally different from imported ones..
    berries do also have a fresh taste here, can`t wait for the spring!!

  10. Øyvor says:

    and… I would never ever sell my property, not for any amount of money..

  11. Tania says:

    Hi! It is Valentine’s Day today.
    I have just read that Valentine’s Day can be an occasion for a more general celebration of love
    and appreciation of people who are personally important to an individual.

    A Valentine’s Day dedication to Jeff:
    “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say , is that I love the world.”

    E.B. White Quote

  12. Tania says:

    Hi! After our “revolution”, the agriculture became a “delicate” problem.
    We have a lot of European agricultural programs and many of us “bet on the agricultural development”.
    But we have many, many problems which we have to solve.
    Anyway, the American agriculture is a model to us.
    Agriculture…the source of our food…good topic.
    Thank you.

  13. Tania says:

    Hi! I now know why Jeff always says “cats” !
    I thought that he did not love the cats.
    I think it’s about a secret: he loves very much the cats but the T.S.Eliot ‘s Cats i.e. “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”.
    I have found out this book.
    It’s a collection of poems about feline psychology and sociology.
    I had read about the musician Andrew Lloyd Webber with his hit musical based on the life of Evita, the movie with Madonna.
    And many skaters dance on the music from “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber .
    And Jeff told us about the “Cats” by T.S.Eliot, the basis for the musical “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber .
    So, a new great musician to me : Andrew Lloyd Webber .
    Thank you, dear Jeff.

  14. Tania says:

    Hi! I did not find “Cats ” at my public library.
    I have read its summary on Wikipedia.
    I like to give name at any cat or dog which I meet.
    So, I like the poem “The Naming of Cats”.
    According to the Old Possum’s Book , each cat has three names: one common, one unique, and one that only the cat knows.

    “When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
    First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily…
    There are fancier names…
    But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular.”

    “No human research can discover the name of a cat – but THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess”

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