West Virginia Agricultural Land Protection Authority (State Authority or Authority)
Under the Voluntary Farmland Protection Act passed by the West Virginia legislature, a West Virginia Agricultural Land Protection Authority was established beginning July, 2002.
The Authority is governed and administered by a board of trustees composed of the following:
(1) Ex officio members, all at 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305
- State Treasurer: The Honorable John Perdue, (304) 340-1571
- Auditor: The Honorable Glen Gainer, (304) 558-2251 ext. 138
- Commissioner of Agriculture: The Honorable Walt Helmick, (304) 558-3200
(2) Nine members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the West Virginia Senate (including five who shall be representative of farmers, and one who shall represent 501-c-3 land trusts).
- Gary Foster (Representative for DNR, Marion County)
- Boyd Meadows (Farmers Representative, Cabell County)
- James Moore (Farmers Representative, Berkeley County)
- Bob Baird (Representative for WV Conservation Agency, Mason County)
- Bill Coffindaffer (Farmers Representative, Harrison County)
- Mark Matheny (Farmers Representative, Mongehalia County)
- Rod Graves (Representative of 501-c-3 Land Trusts, Monroe County)
- Denzil Huff (Farmers Representative, Gilmer County)
- Tim Cottrill (Farmers Representative, Mason County)
Like the county Farmland Protection Boards, the Authority seeks to preserve farmland in the state of West Virginia. The Authority is empowered to accept conservation easements from anywhere in the state, including from landowners in those counties that also have Farmland Protection Boards. The Authority is intended to provide a state-level entity as a dual system in parallel with the county Farmland Protection Boards. The Authority also serves to assist those landowners in counties that do not have Farmland Protection Boards.
(See WV Farmland Protection Act)
(See WV Farmland Protection Act)
In addition to acquiring conservation easements, the Authority also has state-wide duties to disseminate information, seek funding, and assist county Farmland Protection Boards upon request by them. Specifically, the Voluntary Farmland Protection Act outlines the Authority's duties as follows:
- disseminate information regarding agricultural land protection and promote the protection of agricultural land
- assist county farmland protection boards in applying for and obtaining all available state and federal funding that is consistent with the purposes of the farmland protection programs
- upon request of a farmland protection board, provide technical and legal services necessary to procure, acquire, draft, file, and record conservation and preservation easements
- prepare and file with the governor's office by August 31 of each year a report including, but not limited to, the following information:
- the cost per easement obtained
- the identity of all applicants for conservation and preservation easements
- the identity of all applicants from whom conservation and preservation easements have been acquired
- seek and apply for all available funds from federal, state, and private sources for farmland protection programs
The Authority currently is funded for operational purposes by the West Virginia legislature through the Department of Agriculture.
During the 2006 legislative session, the Authority completed its rulemaking process through the West Virginia Senate. In March, 2007 the Authority received its 501-c-3 designation (charitable organization) from the Internal Revenue Service. During the 2008 legislative session the Authority secured dedicated funding from deed recordation fees. The deed recordation revenues are currently at an $700,000 to $800,000 level per annum. These revenues will be dedicated to the securing of conservation easements.
The Authority has been meeting quarterly since October, 2004. All meetings are open to the public and are published with the Secretary of State. For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, (304) 558-2201 or write to the Authority at 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charlestown, WV 25305