Press Release: Tax Laws Give Conservation a Boost

Upper Savannah Land Trust

Wallace Wood
Executive Director
[email protected]

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2016

Tax Laws Give Conservation a Boost

With the passage of the America Gives More Act by Congress at the end of 2015, landowners who place conservation easements on their farms and forests get additional federal and state tax incentives, according to Rossie Corwon.  Corwon is president of the Upper Savannah Land Trust, a non-profit conservation organization based in Greenwood which serves the Western Piedmont of South Carolina.

“Landowners can now deduct up to fifty percent of their adjusted gross income on their federal and state income taxes,” says Wallace Wood, Executive of Director of USLT.  “Qualifying farmers may be able to deduct up to one hundred percent of AGI.  Additionally South Carolina provides a tax credit up to two hundred and fifty dollars per acre,” Wood continues.

Tax deductions and credits are based on the conservation value of property determined by a qualified appraiser.  Properties must meet certain criteria established by the IRS to qualify for a conservation easement.  “In exchange for favorable tax treatment, landowners give up some development rights such as high density housing, industrial and commercial development, strip mining and outdoor advertising such as billboards,” states Wood.  Properties must have conservation values that enhance scenic views, wildlife habitat, water quality or protect unique plants and animals.

John Patrick, along with his brothers Jenks and Joe, placed a conservation easement on their tree farms in located in the Saluda River basin.  “After some effort of better understanding all the various benefits of a conservation easement, we decided now was the perfect time for us to enlist USLT to help us with an easement,” states Patrick. “By placing conservation easements on these properties, we have more assurance that they will be used in the future for a tree farm, provide wildlife habitat, protect water quality and provide scenic views.”

“With ninety one conservation easements and almost 40,000 acres protected, the Upper Savannah Land Trust is now the fifth largest non-profit organization in South Carolina that holds easements,” Corwon emphasizes.  The entity that holds conservation easements is responsible for making sure that the landowner’s desires for their property are carried out forever.

For more information on conservation easements and the Upper Savannah Land Trust, visit, or call 864-993-5012.

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John Patrick and his brothers Jenks and Joe placed a conservation easement on their tree farms in the Saluda River basin.  The Upper Savannah Land Trust will help ensure that the land will always remain in forestry or agriculture. New tax laws will help too.