June 29, 2023
So much of Maine’s farmland is at risk of disappearing as farmers retire and transition, while for many aspiring or expanding farmers, the availability and cost of farmland can be out of reach. Protecting farmland can also be a bridge to farmland access, and we’re excited to share a recent easement that addressed both of these needs, crossing generations to keep 60 acres of farmland in active agriculture in the rapidly growing Bangor area.
Earlier this month we closed on the purchase of an easement and OPAV on the Patterson Farm in Hampden. We worked with Judy Luro (pictured above, right, with MFT Farmland Protection Project Manager April Costa) to protect her late husband’s family farm with an easement before she sold it, which had been a long time dream of her husband George Patterson. He and Judy were adamant that the property remain in agricultural use, and did not want to see it turned into a residential development. George’s family purchased the land in 1905 and built the house that still stands there to this day, with the fields farmed continuously since that time. In recent years, a local dairy farmer has been leasing them to grow hay and corn.
The Patterson Farm is 60 acres, with 15 acres of open fields with a view of Dixmont Mountain, 44 acres of forest, and 25 acres of Prime Farmland Soils and Farmland Soils of Statewide Importance. In addition, the property boasts nearly half a mile of road frontage that would have made it particularly susceptible to developmental pressures had it not been protected.
Since placing an easement on the farm, Judy has sold the farm to her neighbors, the Domina family (pictured to the right), who will start a farm of their own on the property. The Dominas come from farming families and intend to continue to lease out some of the fields while they begin their own farm business. Their plans include establishing a market garden and hosting agritourism events with an educational agricultural component. In the coming years, they aspire to be the first farmers from within the city of Hampden at the Hampden Farmers’ Market.