The Land Conservation Program is a voluntary program in which Dakota County and other partners work with willing landowners to protect agricultural land and natural resources through conservation easements or fee title.
Applications accepted by the program protect land for future generations to farm or future residents to enjoy. Landowners still own their land. They can still use it; they can still sell it; it will just never be developed.
The overall goal of the program is to protect agricultural areas while improving water quality and wildlife habitats and to protect, connect and manage natural areas. To date, the program has protected 7,458 acres.
The program is a model for successful land protection. In 2005, the program was one of six recipients from across the country to receive an inaugural County Conservation Leadership Award from the National Association of Counties and the Trust for Public Land.
It has also received awards from the American Planning Association, Minnesota Association of Counties, and the Minnesota Environmental Initiative. In 2009, the Farmland and Natural Areas Program received a Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention.