Farmland Owners’ Satisfaction with Agricultural Conservation Easements

Brian J. Schilling, Kevin P. Sullivan, J. Dixon Esseks, Lori Lynch, Joshua M. Duke, Paul D. Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite substantial investments in purchase of agricultural conservation easement (PACE) programs to preserve farmland, little attention has been placed on evaluating landowner perspectives of PACE post-preservation. Understanding landowner experiences and satisfaction with operation of farms subject to PACE deeds of easement can inform future farmland preservation policy and procedures. The objective of this study is to empirically examine the extent and basis of landowner satisfaction with PACE program participation through statistical modeling of data from a phone survey of 507 preserved farmland owners in three Northeastern states (Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey). Ordinal logistic regression models are developed to explain factors affecting landowners’ satisfaction of PACE participation. Results show generally high levels of owner satisfaction with PACE programs in the region. “Second-generation” landowners (i.e., those who purchase or inherit preserved farms) and owners who have had a business activity restricted by easement terms are less likely to be satisfied with the program. Implications for policy formation and program administration are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-787
Number of pages19
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Agricultural conservation easements
  • farm retention
  • farmland preservation
  • landowner satisfaction


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