What We Do

Congress has not renewed the enhanced easement incentive beyond Dec. 31, 2011 because the current national budget is only good for two months. Learn what has expired, what hasn't and what you can do about it.

Do keep in mind there are more supporters in Congress to renew the incentive that was established in 2006 that enhanced the tax benefits of protecting your land by donating a voluntary conservation agreement. In addition, Idaho's Sen. Mike Crapo has co-sponsored a bill that would make this incentive permanent. View this map to see the service area of the Southern Idaho Land Trust.

If you own land with important natural or historic resources in south-central Idaho, donating a voluntary conservation agreement can be one of the smartest ways to conserve the land you love, while maintaining your private property rights and possibly realizing significant federal tax benefits. Read this endorsement in the Twin Falls Times-News.

What do you need to know to enter into a voluntary conservation agreement? Here are the facts:

  • A voluntary conservation agreement, also known as a conservation easement, is a legal agreement between a landowner and a nonprofit land trust, like the Southern Idaho Land Trust, or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect important conservation values. It allows you to continue to own and use your land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs.
  • A voluntary conservation agreement can help a landowner pass land on intact to the next generation. By limiting the land's development potential, the agreement lowers its market value, which in turn lowers estate tax. Whether the agreement is donated during life or by will, it can make a critical difference in the heirs' ability to keep the land intact.
  • When you enter into a voluntary conservation agreement with a land trust, you give up some of the rights associated with the land. For example, you might give up the right to subdivide your land or build additional houses, while retaining the full right to grow crops. Voluntary conservation agreements vary widely.Sometimes an agreement to protect rare wildlife habitat might prohibit any development there, while one to protect the scenic and historic values of a farm might allow continued farming and the building of additional agricultural structures. An agreement may apply to just a portion of the property, and need not require public access.