Purchase of Development Rights

PDR programs are in essence an economic development tool for localities to use in retaining agricultural businesses -- the working farms, woodlands, and ranches that are a historic and present-day part of communities across the country.

These voluntary programs use public funding compensate owners of agricultural property in return for an easement that permanently restricts limits future non-agricultural development of their land. State and local governments provide landowners for the fair-market value of their land. Independent appraisers assess this value, and compensation is typically based on the difference between the land’s unrestricted price on the open market and its price as farmland. Individual agreements are negotiated with the landowners, and once the easement is in place, landowners may still sell the land on the open market as farmland. All other private property rights remain intact.

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