Governor Bill Lee gave his sixth State of the State address. It was delivered to the General Assembly and the residents of Tennessee on Monday, February 5. The address unfolded in the House Chamber of the Tennessee State Capitol.
In sharing his perspective, Governor Lee expressed, “Tennessee is continuing to lead the nation as a beacon of opportunity, security, and freedom. Every Tennessean has an important role to play as we strengthen and secure our state’s future, and in the coming year, I look forward to working with the General Assembly to accomplish our legislative priorities and make life better for all.” The address was made accessible on Governor Lee’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Governor Lee has introduced the Farmland Conservation Fund, a program that collaborates with Tennessee farmers opting to place a conservation easement on their land voluntarily. In his announcement, Lee emphasized that this initiative empowers farm families to safeguard their farmland for future generations, preserving Tennessee’s rural heritage as a gateway to opportunities. During the announcement, a gallery attendee exclaimed, “Protect the wetlands!”
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s formal proposal for a $55 million budget in fiscal year 2024 revealed intentions to allocate nearly two-thirds of the funds, approximately $35 million, to enhance “broadband infrastructure” in state parks.
A conservation easement is recognized as a voluntary, legal agreement, is designed to permanently restrict uses of the land to safeguard its conservation values. Also referred to as a conservation restriction or conservation agreement, this easement serves as an option to preserve a property for future generations.
Benefits of a Conservation Easement:
- Conservation easements can be an effective tool to protect land, often at lower cost to land trusts and public agencies.
- A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency where the landowner retains many private property rights.
- If donated, conservation easements may provide valuable tax benefits to landowners.
- Conservation easements keep land in private ownership, and continuing to provide economic benefits to the area.
- Conservation easements do not automatically make properties open to the public.