MOUNT VERNON — Four farms will be added this year to the growing amount
of acreage protected from development in Knox County.
Doug Givens, managing director of Philander Chase Corp., a nonprofit organization which serves as one of the conduits for farmland preservation in Knox County, told the Knox County Commissioners on Monday that the applications for four farms totaling over 340 acres were approved for agriculture easements this year.
The John and Rebecca Simpson farm on Grove Church Road, the Don and Lee Thomas farm on Hopewell Road, the Eric and Kate Helt farm on Horn Road, and the Dave and Lisa Seitz farm, also on Grove Church Road, are the four farms which will become dedicated farmland in perpetuity with the new easements.
The owners of the farms will receive about 75 percent of half of the land’s market value in exchange for signing over all rights to develop the land.
Much of the land of these four farms borders farmland already preserved with agricultural easements.
“We need to have this be the case all over Knox County,” Givens told the commissioners, pointing to the portions of a county map that had shaded areas representing preserved farmland.
Givens also introduced Commissioners Bob Wise, Teresa Bemiller and Allen Stockberger to Lisa Schott, who will take over as managing director of Philander Chase Corp. on July 1.
Schott praised the job Givens has done “building momentum” each year by adding more acreage to the growing parcels of farmland which will remain dedicated as farmland.
Givens said over 5,000 acres have been preserved by the combined efforts of Philander Chase Corp., the Owl Creek Conservancy, and the Knox County Parks and Recreation District.
“But there’s a lot more to do,” Givens added.
He said he will remain involved with conservancy efforts after retiring as managing director at the end of this month.