Florida preserving 2,306 acres on cattle ranch through conservation easement

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said recently that the governor and cabinet recently approved the preservation of 2,306 acres of environmentally sensitive agricultural land on the Clay Ranch in Putnam County while allowing the land and agriculture operations to continue to contribute to Florida's economy.

Clay Ranch is a cattle operation in Putnam County that has been in operation for 160 years. This new easement is situated between two existing conservation areas – the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station and Etoniah Creek State Forest.

The purchase is a part of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which partners with Florida's farmers and ranchers to preserve active agricultural operations and their economic and environmental benefits through cost-effective conservation easements.

The partnership increases the total land preserved by the program to 27,649 acres over 31 conservation easements. Since 2011, 24 projects totaling 24,064 acres have been acquired, a more than 600 percent increase in acres preserved by the program.

“Florida's farmers and ranchers are our state's original conservationists, and partnering with them through conservation easements is a cost-effective way to preserve these invaluable pieces of our rural economy and environment for future generations,” Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services created the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program in 2001 and has acquired 31 perpetual easements totaling 27,649 acres.

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Florida Department of Agriculture

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