(1) The office of farmland preservation is created and shall be located within the state conservation commission.
(2) Staff support for the office shall be provided by the state conservation commission.
(3) The office of farmland preservation may:
(a) Provide advice and assist the state conservation commission in implementing the provisions of RCW 89.08.530
, including the merits of leasing or purchasing easements for fixed terms in addition to purchasing easements in perpetuity;
(b) Develop recommendations for the funding level and for the use of the agricultural conservation easements account established in RCW 89.08.540
with the guidance of the farmland preservation task force established under *RCW 89.10.020
(c) With input from the task force created in *RCW 89.10.020
, provide an analysis of the major factors that have led to past declines in the amount and use of agricultural lands in Washington and of the factors that will likely affect retention and economic viability of these lands into the future including, but not limited to, pressures to convert land to nonagricultural uses, loss of processing plants and markets, loss of profitability, productivity, and competitive advantage, urban sprawl, water availability and quality, restrictions on agricultural land use, and conversion to recreational or other uses;
(d) Develop model programs and tools, including innovative economic incentives for landowners, to retain agricultural land for agricultural production, with the guidance from the farmland preservation task force created under *RCW 89.10.020
(e) Provide technical assistance to localities as they develop and implement programs, mechanisms, and tools to encourage the retention of agricultural lands;
(f) Develop a grant process and an eligibility certification process for localities to receive grants for local programs and tools to retain agricultural lands for agricultural production;
(g) Provide analysis and recommendations as to the continued development and implementation of the farm transition program including, but not limited to, recommending:
(i) Assistance in the preparation of business plans for the transition of business interests;
(ii) Assistance in the facilitation of transfers of existing properties and agricultural operations to interested buyers; and
(iii) Research assistance on agricultural, financial, marketing, and other related transition matters;
(h) Begin the development of a farm transition program to assist in the transition of farmland and related businesses from one generation to the next, aligning the farm transition program closely with the farmland preservation effort to assure complementary functions; and
(i) Serve as a clearinghouse for incentive programs that would consolidate and disseminate information relating to conservation programs that are accessible to landowners and assist owners of agricultural lands to secure financial assistance to implement conservation easements and other projects.