Since the inception of the Conservation Easement Authority we have not purchased wealthy farms or enhanced the bank accounts of affluent land owners. Instead we have helped a hard-working, dedicated, third-generation farm family keep their family farm in agricultural production. This family donated over $300,000 of potential development rights in order to pass their farm, Pleasantdale, to the next generation for the future of agriculture production.
The development rights that were donated should be viewed as a savings to the taxpayers of Shenandoah County, "not land grabbing." Every time we use farmland for development purposes it costs the taxpayer $1.32 for every $1 collected in taxes.
We all know that with development we are required to build roads, enlarge our schools, provide additional dumpsters, hire additional law enforcement, and fund additional fire and rescue services to meet the growing demand of the additional people developments bring into the county. Residential developments cost much more than cows and corn.
As a third generation farmer, I support the preservation for farmland in Shenandoah County through easements, land use taxation and agriculture districts. Remember, there will be no more land made in Shenandoah County and the farmers here are a part of the most prolific farms in the worlds.
Dee Hockman, Strasburg