§8A-12-12. Methods of farmland protection.
(a) The authority or a county farmland protection board may negotiate with and compensate eligible property owners to ensure the protection of farmland within the county or state. Methods of protecting farmland may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Acquisition of conservation easement or preservation easement. -- With the consent of a property owner, the county farmland protection board or the authority may acquire and place on record a conservation or preservation easement. Acquired easements apply only to those properties which qualify for consideration under the terms established by an adopted farmland protection program; and
(2) Acquisition of land and disposition. -- With the consent of a property owner, the county farmland protection board or the authority may acquire any property which qualifies for agricultural protection under terms established by an adopted farmland protection program. The county farmland protection board or the authority may lease, as lessor, acquired property for agricultural uses or may restrict the property to agricultural uses and sell the property at fair market value for use as a farm. Any property acquired by a county farmland protection board or the authority and then sold shall be sold subject to a conservation or preservation easement. If the property is leased, the lessee shall pay to the county commission, in addition to rent, an annual fee set by the county commission. The amount of this annual fee shall be commensurate with the amount of property taxes which would be assessed in accordance with the provisions of this code upon the property if the property were held by a private landowner.
(b) Revenues from the sale of properties restricted to agricultural uses shall be used to recover the original purchase costs of the properties and shall be returned to the applicable funds which were used by the county farmland protection board or the authority to purchase the property. Any profits resulting from the sale of property restricted to agricultural uses shall be deposited in a farmland protection fund.