On April 24, Governor Henry McMaster signed the Working Agriculture Lands Preservation Act. This law allows the S.C. Conservation Bank to create a new fund called The Working Farmland Protection Fund.

This fund allows landowners to preserve working agricultural lands through voluntary conservation easements. Grant applications must meet specific evaluation criteria, including, but not limited to, the value of the land’s natural resources, the economic viability of the property in terms of current and future commercial agricultural activities, and the threat of non-agriculture-related development.

In addition, the landowner must derive at least 50% of their income from the eligible farmland. This new law will help our working farmers keep their farms and not sell their land for future development.

I was a big proponent of this bill as it provides a way for landowners to voluntarily protect their land from development and helps keep the pressure off our working farms from selling for future development.