Conservation: The REAL numbers

Life, Liberty and


property is it?

Since we, the descendants of those men and women who fought and died for that ideal are now considered too dumb and helpless to keep our land without a bailout plan, here’s what Big Brother is prepared to do for you….the Commonwealth is going to spend $46, 581,081 a year to turn land conservation into an industry all of its own. (See LandScope VA, below) They’re going to subsidize the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and create an army of acolytes to minister to  landowners, anointing them with eternal salvation by saving Mother Earth and getting to pocket some cash at the same time. Governors past and present are getting on this train to glory, too, pledging 400,000 more acres each term. The VOF becomes such a wild success, they can’t keep up with the demand.

Demand has been so high that the foundation now operates eight offices with 40 staff, including a dozen who are part-time or temporary hires.

▪VOF now protects about 650,000 acres across 106 localities — an area half the size of Delaware. Of the nearly 800,000 acres of open space protected in Virginia since 2000 by all federal, state, local, and private entities, approximately two-thirds have been protected by VOF easements.

Conservation is going so well, in fact, that about 18% of land in Virginia is being conserved. How much land is developed?

According to VA’s Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Landscope (see below)…..12%. One third LESS.

So, how much land is devoted to agriculture in the US?

Considering all agricultural purposes, including cropland, grassland pasture and range, and
grazed forests, agricultural lands cover nearly 1.2 billion acres, that is, over half (52 percent) of
total U.S. land area….Conservation Reserve and Wetland Reserve Program

Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA), the CRP has a current enrollment of 34.7 million acres on 430,000 farms. In 2009, the
USDA is prepared to distribute $1.8 billion in CRP payments (FSA 2008). CRP is one of many
USDA programs funded directly through the Commodity Credit Corporation as approved by the
2008 Farm Bill.

Since it was introduced in 1985, CRP was reinitiated and expanded by the 1990, 1996,
2002, and 2008 Farm Bills. Beginning with an enrollment of 2 million acres, CRP acreage
ballooned in 2007 to an all-time high of just under 37 million acres.3 With a 2007 budget of
almost $2 billion, CRP is the largest federally funded conservation program (FSA 2007). With
the approval of the 2008 Farm Bill, the CRP is reauthorized through FY2012.


Virginia Outdoors Foundation | Annual Report FY 2011

The period between 2000 and 2010 was a golden
decade of conservation in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Driven by the most generous tax incentives in the
nation—the Land Preservation Tax Credits—Virginians
preserved nearly 900,000 acres of open space. More than
half of those acres were the result of landowners granting
conservation easements to the Virginia Outdoors
Foundation. During this time, VOF preserved open space
at a rate of about 5 acres every hour. Today, we protect
more acres of land in Virginia than any other state, local,
or private entity, and we hold more easements than any
land trust in the nation.


State population (2010) 8,001,024
Projected population change: 2000-2030 38.8%
State lands (acres) 25,342,700
Public land conserved through ownership and easement 13.52%
Land conserved through private land trust ownership/easement 4.5%
Amount of land currently developed 12%
Species diversity, rank by state 18
Native species at risk of extinction 7.2%
Public dollars invested in conservation – 1998-2005
Average yearly expenditure $45,568,081
Average yearly expenditure per person $47
Expenditure per acre conserved $1,228.21 



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