More than 5,000 Acres Protected Through Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, While Continuing to Support Economy

Mar 28, 14 More than 5,000 Acres Protected Through Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, While Continuing to Support Economy

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Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and members of the Board of Trustees approved today a conservation easement with the Jahreis Family Ranch as part of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. More than 615 acres of the environmentally important Lake County ranch will be protected under the conservation easement, while allowing agricultural operations to continue.
“The Jahreis Family Ranch, in an area with high aquifer recharge and located at the headwaters of four major river systems, is an invaluable piece of Central Florida’s ecosystem,” said Commissioner Putnam. “This agreement will protect all the environmental benefits of the land, but the family-owned agricultural operation will continue to generate revenue, continue to create jobs and continue to support the local economy.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Rural and Family Lands Protection Program was created in 2001 with the goal of acquiring perpetual agricultural conservation easements that ensure privately owned lands will be preserved in agricultural use while providing for the protection of natural resources.
With the addition of the Jahreis Family Ranch, there are approximately 5,645 acres of privately owned land in Florida protected as part of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.
The Jahreis Family Ranch is a family-owned ranch with agricultural activities that include citrus production and a cattle-grazing operation. The western boundary of the property connects to a Department of Environmental Protection Green Swamp conservation easement. The ranch is located within the Green Swamp Florida Forever Project, a project designed to protect both the high aquifer recharge of the area and the headwaters of four major river systems.
In 2013, the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program was appropriated an additional $11 million to continue to establish conservation easements with Florida’s private landowners.
Florida agriculture has an overall economic impact estimated at more than $108 billion annually, making it the state’s second largest industry. The agriculture industry supports 2 million jobs in Florida.
For information on the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program visit: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Forests-Wildfire2/For-Landowners/Programs/Rural-and-Family-Lands-Protection-Program.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.

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