January 20, 2017
Maine Farmland Trust land protection staff Charlie Baldwin with farmland owners Jonathon and Gina Gutman.
A 132-acre farm on the Lebanon/Acton line was recently protected by Maine Farmland Trust, in conjunction with Three River Land Trust, ensuring that the farm will remain available for farming far into the future. The Gutman Farm is a picturesque farm situated on the southern slopes of the rolling hills south of the Presidential Range, on the Lebanon/Acton line.
Jonathon and Gina Gutman found the property when looking to relocate from California, and thought it was the right kind of place to raise their two children. Today their daughter and her partner are raising their kids on the property. Jon and Gina still maintain an active rescue farm on the property, and provide a home for sheep, goats, horses, ducks, chickens, geese, and farm dogs that had nowhere else to go.
Over the years the goats and sheep helped clear the overgrown fields of invasive bittersweet, while their two big guardian dogs oversee the livestock menagerie. A revolving door of underworked border collies come stay at the farm and learn what it means to be a working dog.
In addition to rescuing farm animals, the Gutmans rehabilitated the old apple orchard and planted pears and nut trees, manage 46 acres of fields for hay production, sell the compost generated by their livestock.
While the farm is self-sustaining, the Gutmans recognize that their land has the potential to be much more productive. This understanding led them to work with Maine Farmland Trust to protect their farm, so that the land could be available for food production for future generations. “We found the entire easement process pleasurable and interesting,” said Jon Gutman after the closing. “MFT’s organized approach made the process go smoothly. Answering their questions gave us additional insight into the value of our farm and made us more certain that we were making the right decision.”
Local Three Rivers Land Trust was instrumental in connecting the Gutmans to MFT and played a key role securing the easement. Three Rivers Land Trust’s president, Jean Noon, has helped MFT to identify vital farmland in the area, and together the two land trusts have protected several farms and hope to preserve more farmland in the future.