Conservation easement granted for land dedicated to agriculture

YORK COUNTY – This past week, the York County Commissioners granted a conservation easement for an agricultural property owned by a man who wanted to see it preserved for agricultural use only.

The Nebraska Trust Company, representing the estate of George Kruger, asked for the easement to be declared, prior to the property being sold at auction.

York County Zoning Administrator Nate Heinz told the commissioners the county planning and zoning committee had met on the matter and were recommending approval, as this was considered a conditional use permit.

Per Kruger’s request, 80 acres were transferred to the Nebraska Land Trust upon the recent death of Kruger’s wife.

“This says the land, which is located in York County, cannot be mined or have any business placed on it, it cannot be used for anything other than what it is now – agricultural land,” Heinz said.

Dave Sands, director of the Nebraska Land Trust, explained how the entity’s primary mission is to preserve working agricultural land and rangeland. They work with farmers and ranchers who want their land to stay in agriculture.

“George had no heirs,” Sands said. “He loved wildlife and had a passion for farming. Prior to his death, he did a conservation easement with us, he wanted to donate this. His wife has now died so the land was then transferred to us. The farmland is prime with also some grassland and a tree line area. We want to get this approved and then we will sell it into private ownership.”

“So the land will soon be up for sale?” asked Commissioner Randy Obermier.

“Yes, there will be a live auction this week,” Sands said.

“Who polices how the requirements are then met?” Obermier asked.

“The Nebraska Land Trust does that work, to maintain the requirements are met,” Sands said. “We have only had two violations in 50 situations and those two were solved amicably. We have easements in 18 counties.”

He said this declaration also says the land can never be subdivided.

“So you are making sure what Mr. Kruger wanted you to do is being done,” said Commissioner LeRoy Ott.

“Yes,” Sands responded.

All the commissioners voted in favor of granting the conservation easement.

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