Agricultural district laws allow farmers to form special areas where commercial agriculture is encouraged and protected. They are designed to protect agriculture as a viable segment of the state's economy and the land as an important and valuable natural resource.
Who Is Eligible?
An agricultural district must contain a minimum of 250 contiguous acres which are in agricultural use (contiguous acres may cross roads). Each landowner within the proposed district must have at least 10 acres without a homestead or 11 acres with a homestead. If it is classified as horticultural land, you must have 5 acres without a homestead.
The land must be agricultural land as defined in KRS 132.010 (9), "used for the production of livestock, livestock products, poultry, poultry products and/or the growing of tobacco and/or other crops including timber, or where devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments pursuant to agriculture programs under an agreement with the state or federal government.”
Agricultural districts offer members the following protection under the law:
As a member of an agricultural district, you receive extra points when applying for the Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program or the for Kentucky Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements program.
Membership in an agricultural district is voluntary.
Landowners may withdraw from the district at any time by notifying the Conservation District in writing.
If a withdrawal of land lowers the original acreage below 250 acres, the agricultural district remains in effect for the remaining landowners.
To establish an Agricultural District, landowners obtain a petition from the local Conservation District. The petition must include:
Landowners cannot be included in an Agricultural District without their permission.
The petition is submitted to the county Conservation District, which notifies the Fiscal Court, county Planning and Zoning agency, and any nearby cities or towns for a 30-day comment period.
The Conservation District reviews the petition and agency comments and forwards these to the Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission for action. Once established, Agricultural Districts are reviewed every five years to make sure that the land contained in the district still meets the acreage and agricultural land use requirements.
The Kentucky Division of Conservation administers the Agricultural District Program with oversight from the Kentucky Soil and Water Commission. Locally, the program is administered by county Conservation Districts.