Florida Funds Agricultural Conservation
Easements at Record Amounts
Over the last year, Florida has made significant strides in conservation efforts across the state through the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (“RFLPP”). The RFLPP, in simple terms, is a program that allows private agricultural landowners to sell their development rights to the state through a conservation easement. Spurred by the Wildlife Corridor Act enacted in 2021, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (“FDACS”) went from spending approximately $100 million on RFLPP conservation easements during the two decades from 2001-2021, to investing $300 million in the program in 2022 alone. Similar levels of investment are expected in the coming years.
The RFLPP presents a unique opportunity to landowners because the conservation easement purchased by FDACS allows existing agriculture operations to continue indefinitely at full capacity and intensity.  This protects the landowners and the state agriculture industry, while the securing of development rights by FDACS protects the habitats of many species—including the Florida Panther—that call Florida home.
Properties located within the Florida Wildlife Corridor (the “Corridor”) are strong candidates for participation in RFLPP. The Corridor, as depicted below, is comprised of 17.7 million acres. About 9.6 million acres of the Corridor are protected conservation lands and the remainder are considered opportunity zones.
 The permitted agriculture operations include livestock, timber, citrus, row crops, vineyards, blueberries, as well as other supplemental uses.