Legislators debate fee as way to help save prime farmland

Revenue could support preservation fund

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Increased development and the advent of solar farms has some rural lawmakers concerned about ways to save prime farmland in the state.

It’s such a concern that lawmakers say it may be time to consider an annual per-acre fee of $100 or more on land owners who convert their land out of agriculture. The money would go into the state’s PACE land preservation program.

The state loses 16,000 acres of prime farmland a year. And right now, 30,000 acres are proposed for solar farms.

“We know after last year, we saw some things that weren’t on the shelves at the store, we see some of that happening now. I think we need to think about the future 20, 25 years from now, not like some of us elected legislators thinking two to four years, but think about 20 to 25 years from now and how do you insure the next generation has an ample food supply,” state Sen. Paul Hornback, a Shelbyville Republican, said Wednesday during a meeting f the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture.

Some lawmakers would pit land preservation supporters against those who believe in property owners’ rights.

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