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Windt im Wald
A Wind in the Woods
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995

The loss of farmland and open space throughout the country has become a very important issue in recent years. As more and more land becomes developed, an increasing number of tools have been created to preserve the land that remains. Education remains our best tool. Click here for the OSU Land Use Team

Farmland Preservation or Farm Welfare?

Just what is “Farmland Preservation”? I thought the two words said it all, but not necessarily so. My simplistic way said Farmland Preservation was keeping farmland in production, keeping the county Green and keeping new non-AG development to a minimum. Now I realize I could not have been more wrong.

To have real farmland preservation we need to grow the number of profitable farms in the county, not throw tax money at an unprofitable farm that that cannot survive on its own merits and call it Farmland Preservation.

As Geauga County has grown many large tracts of land used for more traditional farming, i.e. dairy, hog, and grain, have been converted to housing developments. A new phenomenon, the Equine Farm. Though not counted in AG statistics, equine farming is the fastest growing industry in Geauga County. Most equine farms are small, often on less than 20 acre plots of land and located close to, and sometimes in, the developments that were once a large traditional farm. These small farms are often the principal occupation of the farmer, creating more full-time farmers in the county.

What is unique about these new farms is their economic impact on the county and state. They are cash cows bringing money and jobs to an otherwise depressed farming industry. Horse farms and stables are growing at a rate of 2-3 per year according to a study in 1997 authored by Agent Randy James of The Ohio State University Extension. Compare this growth to only one 120-acre farm saved in the county by Farmland Preservation over the past ten years using tax dollars! The same study shows gross sales per farm are $100,000 for horses, $80,000 for greenhouse and nursery, $50,000 for dairy, and $28,000 for all farms.

I hope we can all support REAL farmland preservation by letting the free market prevail.

Tom Jones
Windt im Wald Farm

Copy of study "The Changing Agricultural Community in Geauga County, Ohio 1990-1997" is available from
Randall E James, Ph.D.
Extension Agent
Agriculture & Natural Resources 
Ohio State University Extension Geauga County
14269 Claridon-Troy Rd., P.O. Box 387
Burton, Ohio 44021

The following links are to the Ohio State University Extension.

Costs of Community Services or "cows don't go to school"
Purchase of Development Rights
Conservation Easements
Land Trusts
Transfer of Development Rights
Citizen Participation In Community Development

Windt im Wald Farm is committed to preservation of farm land in Ohio and believes the free market will in the end preserve more viable farms than will tax dollars.

Geauga County farm growth highest in Ohio 

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