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Kentucky Farmland

Kentucky Dominicans Preserve Farmland

ST. CATHARINE, KY -- May 14, 2008-- Over 340 acres of St. Catharine Farm land is now officially an Agricultural District. The state recently approved the farm’s petition to enter into the Agricultural District Program.

Becoming an Agricultural District will allow the St. Catharine, Kentucky Dominicans to sustain the land their first sisters began farming in 1822 to provide food for themselves and their students. “Having this designation assures that farming will continue on this land as it has for 185 years,” said Sr. Charlene Moser, OP. “As an agricultural district, the land can only be used for farming purposes.”

The purpose of the program is to provide a means by which agricultural land may be protected and enhanced as a viable segment of the state’s economy and as an important natural resource, and to minimize the conversion of Kentucky’s best agricultural land to non-farm use. An Agricultural District cannot be annexed and development that requires a change in zoning is prohibited. There are no restrictions for farming practices on the land.

In 1982 Kentucky’s General Assembly passed the Agricultural District Law. This law permits a landowner or group of landowners, owning at least 250 contiguous acres in active agricultural production, to petition their local conservation district to form an agricultural district. The local conservation district board of supervisors reviews the petition, makes their recommendation, and then forwards all information to the Kentucky Soil and Water Conversation Commission for approval to participate in the program

The designation is for five years, but can be renewed. It will allow the farm to receive a higher ranking when applying for state cost share assistance.

To date, according to the Web site, there are 480 certified agricultural districts in Kentucky containing approximately 414,524.83 acres. These numbers include 3,298 landowners and 78 counties. The two largest agricultural districts are located in western Kentucky.

Kentucky has been a national leader in the protection of its land resources and promoting the economic importance of its agricultural industry. Kentucky’s Agricultural District Program has played a valuable role in protecting the state’s agricultural land base and the family farms across the state.

St. Catharine Farm, a sponsored ministry of the Dominicans of St. Catharine, Ky., is currently a beef cattle farm on about 650 acres of land in Washington County, Ky.

Dana Lear Brantley
Director of Communications
Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, KY

"... This designation assures that farming will continue on this land as it has for 185 years."

Charlene Moser, OP

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