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Title XVII AGRICULTURE AND ANIMALS

Chapter 262

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  262.815.  Citation of law, purpose — trust created, objectives — advisory board created, members, duties, terms — fund created — rulemaking authority. — 1.  This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Missouri Farmland Trust Act".  The purpose of this section is to allow individuals and entities to donate, gift, or otherwise convey farmland to the state department of agriculture for the purpose of preserving the land as farmland and to further provide beginning farmers with an opportunity to farm by allowing long-term low and variable cost leases, thereby making it affordable for the next generation of farmers to continue to produce food, fiber, and fuel.

  2.  There is hereby created the "Missouri Farmland Trust" which shall be implemented in a manner to accomplish the following objectives:

  (1)  Protect and preserve Missouri's farmland;

  (2)  Link new generations of prospective farmers with present farmers; and

  (3)  Promote best practices in environmental, livestock, and land stewardship.

  3.  (1)  There is hereby created within the department of agriculture the "Missouri Farmland Trust Advisory Board" which shall be comprised of five members appointed by the director of the department of agriculture.  Members shall serve without compensation but, subject to appropriations, may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses.

  (2)  The board shall make recommendations to the director on the appropriate uses of farmland in the trust, criteria to be used to select applicants for the program, and review and make recommendations regarding applications to lease farmland in the trust.

  (3)  Members shall serve five-year terms, with each term beginning July first and ending June thirtieth; except that, of the members initially appointed two shall be appointed for a term of three years, two shall be appointed for a term of four years, and one shall be appointed for a term of five years.  Each member shall serve until his or her successor is appointed.  Any vacancies occurring prior to the expiration of a term shall be filled by appointment for the remainder of such term.  No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

  4.  The department of agriculture is authorized to accept or acquire by purchase, lease, donation, or agreement any agricultural lands, easements, real and personal property, or rights in lands, easements, or real and personal property, including but not limited to buildings, structures, improvements, equipment, or facilities subject to preservation and improvement.  Such lands shall be properties of the Missouri farmland trust for purposes of this section and shall be governed by the provisions of this section and rules promulgated thereunder.

  5.  (1)  There is hereby created in the state treasury the "Missouri Farmland Trust Fund", which shall consist of all gifts, bequests, donations, transfers, and moneys appropriated by the general assembly under this section.  The state treasurer shall be custodian of the fund.  In accordance with sections 30.170 and 30.180, the state treasurer may approve disbursements.  Upon appropriation, money in the fund shall be used for the administration of this section and may be used to make payments to counties for the value of land as payment in lieu of real and personal property taxes for privately owned land acquired after August 28, 2011, in such amounts as determined by the department; except that, the amount determined shall not be less than the real property tax paid at the time of acquisition.  The department of agriculture may require applicants who are awarded leases to pay the property taxes owed under this section for such property.

  (2)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33.080 to the contrary, any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the credit of the general revenue fund.

  (3)  The state treasurer shall invest moneys in the fund in the same manner as other funds are invested.  Any interest and moneys earned on such investments shall be credited to the fund.

  6.  The department of agriculture is authorized to accept all moneys, appropriations, gifts, bequests, donations, or other contributions of moneys or other real or personal property to be expended or used for any of the purposes of this section.  The department may improve, maintain, operate, and regulate any such lands, easements, or real or personal property to promote agriculture and the general welfare using moneys in the fund.  Property acquired by the department under this section shall be used for agricultural purposes.  The director shall establish by rule guidelines for leasing farmland to the trust to beginning farmers for a period not to exceed twenty years.  All property acquired by the department under this section shall be farmed and maintained using the best environmental, conservation, and stewardship practices as outlined by the department.  The department may charge an administrative fee for lease application processing under this section.

  7.  The department, in consultation with the Missouri farmland advisory board, shall promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this section, including but not limited to requirements for lessees, selection process for granting leases, and the terms of the lease, including requirements for applicants, renewal process, requirements for the maintenance of real and personal property by the lessee, and conditions for the termination of leases.

  8.  Any person or entity donating land to or leasing land from the department shall forever release the state of Missouri, the Missouri department of agriculture, the department's director, officers, employees, volunteers, agents, contractors, servants, heirs, successors, assigns, persons, firms, corporations, representatives, and other entities who are or who will be acting in concert or privity with or on behalf of the state from any and all actions, claims, or demands that he or she, family members, heirs, successors, assigns, agents, servants, employees, distributees, guardians, next-of-kin, spouse, and legal representatives now have or may have in the future for any injury, death, property damage related to:

  (1)  Participation in such activities;

  (2)  The negligence, intentional acts, or other acts, whether directly connected to such activities or not, and however caused; and

  (3)  The condition of the premises where such activities occur.

  9.  Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536 and, if applicable, section 536.028.  This section and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536 to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2011, shall be invalid and void.

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(L. 2011 H.B. 458 merged with S.B. 356)


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2011 ----

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