Category Archives: Farmland Protection

Over $2 million in federal funds to support comprehensive conservation of farmland and marsh habitat

Farms are often the largest remaining blocks of undeveloped land in Maine’s coastal communities, and they often contain significant wildlife habitat. But development pressure in coastal communities is the highest in the state, and farmland and marsh habitat are disappearing rapidly. A new project led by Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) in partnership with Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS), The Nature Conservancy, Downeast Salmon Federation and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, will protect farmland that is adjacent to high value tidal marshes in Maine’s coastal plain, and mark a comprehensive effort to conserve Maine’s marshes.

NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program awarded $1,440,000 to MFT and partners for a project called “Conserving Farmland and Marsh Habitat in Maine.” The project aims to conserve both Maine farms and their associated high-value wetlands.

“Maine Farmland Trust’s focus is to protect farmland with agricultural easements, but agricultural easements on their own do not address other threats to tidal marshes that may occur on farm properties,” said Erica Buswell, MFT’s Vice President of Programs. “Working with our partners on this project will enable us to enhance the value of agricultural easements as a tool for conserving marsh habitat by combining farmland protection with specific conservation practices.”

Project partners will seek to protect agricultural resources and habitat for fish and wildlife and will work with farmers to identify resource concerns and the conservation practices to support the health of marsh habitat on their farms through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

“The partnership piece of this project is particularly exciting,” said Buswell. “Each partner organization will be working to accomplish its individual conservation objectives, while also contributing to broad, statewide conservation goals. We understand that by remaining singularly focused on our own missions and work, we sometimes miss opportunities to achieve bigger resource conservation impacts that are possible with more intentional, coordinated collaborations like this one.”

Throughout the northeast, farmland accounts for a significant portion of undeveloped land adjacent to tidal marshes that is not already in conservation; among New England states, Maine has the greatest number of agricultural parcels near tidal marshes. Protecting farmland as an upland buffer is crucial to protecting the diverse marsh habitat that so many plants and animal species rely upon.

MFT and MCHT are also the recipients of a related $600,000 Regional Conservation Partnership Program award to protect a specific cluster of farms on the shores of Little Kennebec Bay in Washington County.

“This partnership is part of a coast-wide initiative to protect Maine’s threatened coastal marshes,” said Betsy Ham, Land Protection Director at MCHT. “How and where farming is conducted not only affects the long-term sustainability of a farm property but also affects the health of the marshes associated with that farm and in turn impacts the harvest of fish and shellfish nearby. This partnership will help us ensure that coastal farms, fisheries, and wildlife habitat can continue to coexist and thrive long into the future”

Maine Farmland Trust and partners will use the Regional Conservation Partnership Program awards to fund related farmland protection projects for the next four years, directing over $2 million to owners of coastal farmland.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

More farmland protected as 2017 comes to a close

In the final weeks of 2017, MFT worked with farmers to protect six more Maine farm properties with agricultural easements:

MFT worked with the farmers at Ecko Farms of Corinna and St. Albans to protect the Cooley Property. The farm property is used to produce hay and corn for Ecko Farms’ large dairy operation and MFT hopes to work with these farmers in the future to protect an additional piece of their large land base.

Young dairy farmers Conor MacDonald and Alexis Gareau closed on a second easement to complete the purchase of Bo Lait Farm in Washington. Bo Lait ships organic milk to Organic Valley. In this tough climate for dairy farming, we are so proud of Alexis and Conor, who have built their herd from 12 to 40 cows in three years! Conor and Alexis got into farming after Conor finished serving 10 years in the US Army, traveling all over the world. Now he’s happy to be rooted in one place and farming: “MFT has done so much for us, and we wouldn’t be milking cows if it wasn’t for MFT.”

Steven and Shannon Lion closed on an easement to protect their 374-acre Sunkhaze Wild Blueberry Farm on Horseback Road in Township 23, Middle Division, in Hancock County. The Lions sell berries to Wyman’s and Bartlett Winery, and hand-rake some for fresh pack sales. Their farm sits at the headwaters of the Sunkhaze Stream. MFT has been working on this project for several years, and everyone is so happy this special piece of farmland will be protected for the future.

MFT and Coastal Mountains Land Trust worked together to craft a multi-purpose easement for the Metcalf-Ferguson farm property in Northport. The easement protects the opportunity for agriculture and forestry as well as the wildlife habitats, ecology, scenic views from public vantage points, and water quality in Knight Pond and the Ducktrap River watershed. The Metcalf family donated the easement, fulfilling the vision of the late matriarchs to conserve the family farm. (Aerial photo by Jacob Gerritsen).

Dan Curran closed on an easement to protect another 166 acres of Curran Farm in Sabattus. This was MFT’s second easement project with Dan and he’s such a great advocate for farmland protection, which he says is important because “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t eat. Maybe this will help some people stop and think about what they can do to support Maine farmers.”

Denise Carpenter closed on an easement to protect 231-acre Chellis Brook Farm in Newfield. Over the years Denise stitched together three old farm properties and restored the pastures for her cattle operation. The easement will ensure that her work to bring back the agricultural viability of the land will not be reversed in the future.

Our work to protect farmland is made possible by our members and supporters. You can pitch in to help ensure a future for farming in Maine by becoming a member or donating HERE

Buxton farmers donate an easement to protect their farm for future generations

John and Martha Charest recently donated an easement to Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) on their 69-acre farm in Buxton.

John Charest acquired the property in the 1974 and began the work of restoring the alder choked fields and rehabilitating the century old farmhouse and barn. The Charests are only the fifth owners of the farm, which was originally awarded to Captain John Elden, a veteran of the French and Indian War, in the mid-1700s.

The Charests began raising Belted Galloway cattle in 1978 and raised sheep and pigs over the years. They continue to raise a small herd of cattle and actively manage the farm’s woodland acreage for silvopasture (woodland pasture for livestock) and tree growth under a forester’s guidance.

John and Martha first reached out to MFT a decade ago. They wanted to make sure their land will remain available for farming. In 2017, after many family discussions, they decided to place an easement on the property. They chose to donate the easement to MFT because they feel the Trust is best situated to ensure that the lands they restored to productivity will protected and available for agricultural use for generations to come.

“Maine Farmland Trust was always upper most in our minds as we looked to the future. They came highly recommended,” said the Charests. “With the help of the MFT we are assured that this land we’ve worked so hard for over the years will remain open and productive fields and woodlands.”

Maine Farmland Trust is pleased to accept this easement and thrilled that these productive lands will be available for future farmers.

Land Trusts, USDA, farmers, and community protect 60 acres of farmland on Route One in Damariscotta

Damariscotta River Association (DRA), Maine Farmland Trust (MFT), and the United States Department of Agriculture collaborated with Brady Hatch and Brendan McQuillen of Morning Dew Farm to finalize the permanent protection of 60 acres of farm fields and woods on Route One just east of downtown Damariscotta.

“This complicated project has been almost seven years in the making, and it is hard to imagine a better outcome,” said Adam Bishop, Farmland Protection Program Director at Maine Farmland Trust.

Maine Farmland Trust, in partnership with Damariscotta River Association, and with generous financial support from many in the local community, purchased this property in 2011 to ensure that the property would remain in agriculture, and remain an important scenic site for the local community.  Area residents will remember that prior to the Trust’s purchase these roadside fields were under consideration as a development site for a Super Walmart.

”I can’t think of a better welcome to Damariscotta than the fields of Morning Dew Farm,” expressed Damariscotta River Association Executive Director Steven Hufnagel. “It speaks of a place that values sustainable economic development, natural resources and the skills and well-being of its people. We at DRA feel grateful to have worked in close partnership with Maine Farmland Trust and the many supporters of this project, including more than 100 DRA members, who in turn learned about the important work of MFT and together made something wonderful happen.”

Hatch and McQuillen, of Newcastle had been leasing the property from Maine Farmland Trust for several years, cultivating a wide variety of vegetables and herbs to supply their customers at the local farmer’s market, farm shares, and at their Midcoast wholesale accounts.  The farmers now own the property, which is protected with a conservation easement that will ensure the land always remains available as farmland.

Farmland protection projects like this one are made possible by our generous members and supporters who care deeply about the future of farming in Maine. Please join us as a member, or donate today!

Chellie Pingree, Walt Whitcomb to speak at 3rd Annual Farmland Access Conference

US Rep. Chellie Pingree, Commissioner Walter Whitcomb will speak to the many challenges of farmland access, farm transfer, and next-generation farmers at the Farmland Access Conference


Augusta.
Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good will host the third annual Farmland Access Conference on December 4, 2017, at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta ME. The day-long conference will delve into some of the stickiest issues facing farming today. Workshops will tackle challenges of how to provide for a farm’s future when a farmer is ready to retire, and how next-generation farmers can take on the stewardship of farmland in transition and shepherd the future of Maine’s food system.

“In the next decade, more than 400,000 acres of Maine farmland will transition in ownership, raising the question: what will happen to that land?” explains Erica Buswell, Vice President of Programs for MFT. “To ensure this farmland stays in production, all of us must find a way to support land transition with programs that help farmland owners and make land available and affordable for farmers.”

Last year’s conference brought together 150 established and beginning farmers, landowners, and providers that help farmers with access and transfer issues. Today’s farmers—both those who are transitioning out of farming and those who are starting new farm enterprises—will have a pivotal role in shaping the future of our regional food system.

“With available farmland, a growing food scene, and a dynamic new farmer population, Maine is an exciting and rewarding place do our innovative land access and transfer work,” says Jim Habana-Hafner, Executive Director for Land For Good (LFG). “We have great partners for land access work in every state – and can’t do our work effectively without them. But there’s no question that some of our most long-standing and innovative are in Maine, and MFT is among our strongest allies anywhere. We’re excited to contribute to this vibrant network of so many great farm support organizations in the state.”

The opening plenary panel at the conference will be a conversation about  Farmland in the Balance: At the Nexus of Access, Transfer, Viability, and Conservation, and include panelists Chellie Pingree (US Congress), Walter Whitcomb (Maine Agriculture Commissioner), Amanda Beal, (President and CEO, Maine Farmland Trust), Jim Hafner (Executive Director, Land For Good). The panelists will share remarks from their own experiences and areas of expertise in farm access, transfer, viability, and conservation; and offer insights into what’s needed in these areas to continue making progress towards a robust and sustainable Maine food system.

The conference is geared toward a diverse audience including retiring farmers interested in transferring land to next-generation farmers; non-farming landowners that have an interest in making land available for farming; service providers and other advocates, including land trusts, conservation commissions, town planners and lenders with an interest in fostering affordable farmland access; and farmers seeking affordable farmland. Workshops will discuss farmland access strategies, impacts that both federal and state-level policies and programs have on farmland access and transfer, tools for enabling farm transfers, using conservation easements as a component of a farm purchase, how to prepare to buy or sell farmland or a farm business, and more. Conference presenters include local farmers and service providers working on the ground in Maine, as well as experts from around New England.

Exhibits and networking opportunities will be available throughout the day. The conference is hosted by Maine Farmland Trust, and Land For Good. Sponsors include American Farmland Trust, The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF), The Greenhorns, Agrarian Trust, Cooperative Development Institute, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

For more information or to register, go to mainefarmlandtrust.org or call 207-338-6575. The deadline to register is Thursday, November 30. Cost of attendance is $15 per person and includes a lunch sourced from local farmers and producers.

Maine Farmland Trust will soon be looking for a farmer to purchase 143 acres of land in Windham.

MFT recently bought a portion of the former Clark Farm, which includes 37 acres of open fields and excellent frontage on Swett Road. The farm will be protected with a conservation easement and sold to a farmer at a reduced price.

The property, which does not currently have any infrastructure, is located between Swett Road and Webb Road. There is extensive road frontage that allows good access to the fields along Swett Road and forested land access along Webb Road. Approximately 98 acres (70% of the property) is designated as either Prime Farmland Soils, Farmland Soils of Statewide Importance, or Farmland Soils of Local Importance.

Windham has a strong agricultural past, but given its proximity to Portland, the remaining active farms are threatened.

“Windham has a goal of balancing our relatively rapid growth with preserving the working farms that add so much to the character of the community,” said Ben Smith, Director of Planning for the Town of Windham. “The fields on Swett Road are what many residents consider to be the heart of rural Windham. In all of our planning work, these fields have been singled out for their iconic representation of Windham’s rural character.”

This is MFT’s second Buy/Protect/Sell project on Clark family land. In March 2011, MFT, in collaboration with The Trust for Public Land and the Windham Land Trust (now the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust), purchased, protected, and sold 217 acres to Clayton Haskell, who still currently owns the farm.

Two new Forever Farms: McLaughlin & Meadowsweet

On September 29th, MFT closed on a purchased easement on the McLaughlin Farm in Wilton.  The McLaughlin Farm has operated primarily as a dairy farm for over 100 years.  In the more recent past, the dairy infrastructure was sold off separately from the land and the fields have been leased by local dairy farmer Richard Corey.  The property recently came up for sale and Richard and his wife Michelle decided to partner with Jan Collins and Irving Faunce, who own a neighboring blueberry farm, to purchase the McLaughlin Farm’s 120 acres of fields and forest.    Proceeds from the simultaneous sale of an agricultural conservation easement went towards the purchase of the farm.  The purchase and protection of the McLaughlin Farm ensures that the fields will remain available for Richard’s use, and also increase the likelihood that the fields and forest can be reconnected with the dairy infrastructure sometime in the future.

On September 26th, MFT closed on two purchased easements on the Meadowsweet Farm in Swanville.  Sumner Roberts, a longtime fixture at the Belfast Farmers Market, began raising pastured livestock at Meadowsweet Farm in the early 1990s.   Sumner is in the process of selling a 95-acre portion of the Meadowsweet Farm to an incoming farmer and wanted to ensure that the farm was protected from development as part of that transition.   Sumner will be downsizing his operation and moving to a house he is renovating right down the road from the original farmhouse.  Another easement will protect approximately 43 adjacent acres of fields and forest that Sumner is retaining.   Both pieces of land have highly productive soils and will now remain available for agricultural use forever.

FOREVER FARM: South Paw Farm

BY ANNEMARIE AHEARN     PHOTOGRAPHS BY MEREDITH PERDUE

It had been many months since I’d left the coast. It’s easy to forget that so much of the state is farmland; much of it fallow. Some stretches of road are ghostly with abandoned farmhouses, broken-down tractors and decaying agricultural buildings. Others showcase a commitment to keeping agricultural traditions alive, such as Route 137 running through Waldo County.

When I pulled off Greeley Road in Freedom onto the dirt driveway of South Paw Farm, I was greeted by four dogs, two of them pups and all of them some mix of collie and shepherd. A tall, quiet fellow named Santiago greeted me and shooed the dogs away. He called out for Meg Mitchell, co-owner of the farm, before getting back to work himself.

When Meg and I sat down at a weathered picnic table to begin our chat, a little girl no older than ten approached Meg to ask if she could help on the farm for the day, as she was saving up for something special.

Meg had an entire crew to manage and lots to accomplish, but she explained to the little girl that she could tag along if she kept up and took her job seriously.

Meg is kind and honest by any measure. She is also patient, thoughtful, and passionate. Passion in farming can be fleeting, but in Meg’s case, her commitment to that passion carries her steadily along.

At the age of 18, while in school in Atlanta, Meg attended a semester school reunion in North Carolina. While at a diner, Meg met a man named Daniel Price who had just finished school at College of the Atlantic and gone on to purchase a farm in Freedom with his wife, Ginger Dermott. They had aptly named the new venture, Freedom Farm. Before the reunion was through, Daniel offered Meg the opportunity to move to Maine and work on Freedom Farm. Meg took the job and spent four years familiarizing herself with the land, the soil, the drainage and the potential for growth.

In 2008, armed with her experience at Freedom Farm, Meg set out to own and operate her own business, which had always been her goal. She bought a “squirrely little piece of land” (Meg’s words) in Unity and named it South Paw Farm. As she worked the land, she came to better understand the local market as well as the economic model for the business. Meg quickly realized that while going to farmers markets across the state diversified South Paw Farm’s customer base, she sold the vast majority of her produce at the Portland Farmers Market. It was in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park, selling vegetables, that Meg met her future business and life partner, Ryan Mitchell, who at the time played in a punk band. Then, towards the end of 2014, Daniel and Ginger decided to move to North Carolina and offered to sell their farm to Meg and Ryan.

A few years prior, Meg had enrolled in the Maine Farms for the Future program, where she had written a business plan to grow the vegetable production capabilities of South Paw Farm. When Daniel and Ginger decided to sell Freedom Farm, Meg and Ryan were able to redirect the grant funds Meg received toward securing the land in Freedom. Maine Farmland Trust purchased an easement on the Freedom Farm land, which lowered the purchase price and made ownership possible for the young farmers. For the 2015 season, Meg and Ryan operated under the moniker South Paw at Freedom Farm as they transitioned, taking advantage of the business Daniel and Ginger had built, but giving it their own stamp as they developed a strategy for sustainable growth.

It takes years to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are as a farmer on a particular piece of land. As Meg tells me stories of her challenges over the years running a farm, I pick up on a sense of accomplishment in her voice, despite the struggles. She explains, “One season, cabbage laid to rot in the fields due to an overambitious planting; another there weren’t enough peppers to keep up with demand.” In the past, poor irrigation has led to extremely thirsty crops. But from these mishaps comes wisdom. For example, Meg consulted with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to determine how to prevent leaching with new technology. Now she has more suitable irrigation methods. “Always keep records,” she says with certitude. “You simply can’t improve your farm without them.”

In a state like Maine, running a diversified farm can be critical to long term sustainability.  South Paw is 55 acres of land, much of which is woodlot, and 22 acres of which is either cultivated or pastured. Of that, 18 acres are vegetables. Meg and Ryan recently leased another 8 acres across the road, with an eye toward purchasing that land in the future through a similar arrangement with Maine Farmland Trust.

Seventy percent of South Paw’s business is gener-ated by sales at the Portland Farmers Market, twenty percent is wholesale accounts, such as restaurants and Rosemont Market, and about ten percent is devoted to a small but committed CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The farm has a significant hoop house operation, growing a variety of tomatoes and peppers, basil, and ginger. Meg recently acquired a chili roaster, which tends to be a draw to their booth at the Common Ground Fair. The fragrant mix of hot and sweet peppers tosses in an iron cage over an open fire; a conversation starter on cold days. Meg and Ryan have also established a substantial perennial operation, with over ninety heritage apple trees, peaches, elderberries, and raspberries. As another side project, they are on their sixth round of raising dairy cows for calf stock.

I asked Meg if she faces challenges recruiting labor, as this is a common industry struggle. She said that there is a core team that has been there for a while: Santiago (“Santi”) Zamudio Quiroz, Mike Showalter, and Kelly Murray, without whom they couldn’t possibly make the place run. Farmhands are often traveling folks who head south for the winter months to work in agriculture, hospitality, or other seasonal positions.

It’s the kind of job some people quit fast: demanding responsibility, responsiveness, and serious stamina. While farming has romantic undertones, the reality is that many people aren’t cut out for it, physically or mentally. Luckily, this is a quick discovery for most.

But even for farmers who own their land, a second job is often the norm. Meg and Ryan work for Fedco Seeds in the off season: Meg does most of their potato seed purchasing and Ryan helps with bookkeeping.

Meg has a lot of energy, but her journey hasn’t been a race. Her approach has been measured and carefully executed. I asked what advice she has for future farmers. “Stay as organized as possible,” she said, “and take smart risks. Don’t plant 3 acres of potatoes if you don’t have potato digging equipment, for example.”

She adds that new farmers also need to be prepared to broaden their skill set. Being a farmer means being a carpenter, a welder, an electrician, and a bookkeeper, because farmers don’t make enough money to hire special services or pay someone to fix everything that breaks. As a reward, there is the quiet satisfaction in knowing you can do it yourself.

Meg and Ryan were married in October of 2015. The ring bearer was their cow Madeline and the couple still did farm chores the day of the wedding. They asked a friend from the general store who fills their tank with diesel every week to officiate. From time to time, Meg and Ryan go to the local grange to see friends and other community members. There are other competing farms just down the road, but the prevailing sentiment in town is that they are all part of a movement, helping each other further the mission.

It’s a good life, that of a farmer—not just a job. It is a commitment to a greater purpose that pays in the knowledge that all day, every day, you are contributing to the health and happiness of others. You see progress through your physical work, but also through the betterment of your community. And for Meg and Ryan, there is no better work or life, than this. | southpawfarm.net

Lacinato Kale, Avocado, and Cilantro Salad

When I asked Meg what crops were her finest in late spring and early summer, she enthusiastically replied, “lacinato kale, last year’s shallots and cilantro!” In an effort to embrace all three, I’ve written a recipe that celebrates the early summer gems of South Paw Farm.–AA

For 4 servings

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

Juice and zest of a lemon

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 bunch cleaned cilantro leaves and upper stems, roughly chopped

⅓ cup olive oil

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Red pepper flakes

1 bunch lacinato kale, cleaned

1 ripe avocado

2 tablespoons pepitas

1 In a blender, buzz the shallot and garlic with a touch
of salt, before adding any liquid. Use a spatula to
scrape the mixture off the sides afterward. Then
add the lemon juice and zest, Dijon mustard, sherry
vinegar, and cilantro and blend to a consistent
texture. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper
flakes and blend once more. Season to taste.

2 If you are using baby kale, there is no need to cut
it. If your kale is adolescent, cut it across the stem
into thin strips. If it is full grown, pull the leaves
backwards off of the stems and then cut it into thin
strips. If it is particularly tough, you can massage
the cut kale between your hands to tenderize it.
It works! Place kale in large wooden bowl.

3 Cut avocado in half, remove pit and slice across the flesh
every ½ inch, without penetrating the skin. Then make
one, long perpendicular cut through the center, without
penetrating the skin. Use a spoon to release the flesh from
the skin into the kale. Do the same for the other half.

4 Spoon about half of the dressing on the kale and avocado
and gently massage it in. Taste for salt and pepper and
add more if necessary. If you like a heavy dressing, which
is often very nice on a kale salad, add the remainder.
Otherwise, save it for another use. Sprinkle the pepitas
on top of the salad. To make a meal out of it, serve with a
fried egg on top and a hunk of crusty bread on the side.

Enjoy.

Annemarie Ahearn is the owner of Salt Water Farm cooking school in Lincolnville. | saltwaterfarm.com

Agrarian Acts 2017: celebrating Maine farms with The Mallett Brothers Band

The 2nd annual Agrarian Acts concert was a beautiful success — over 260 people from near and far came out to Eagle View Ranch in Sebec for an evening of local food and music with The Mallett Brothers Band.

Agrarian Acts is MFT’s annual celebration of agriculture through music. “We believe that art and music are important tools to help cultivate a vibrant culture of farming and food,” said outreach director Ellen Sabina. “Music and art are vehicles that connect us to the past, and help us examine our world in new and creative ways. That’s why MFT has an art gallery and artist residency program, that’s why we create films, books, and photo exhibits, and that’s why we were so excited to present another Agrarian Acts concert this summer.”

A Maine-based band, The Mallett Brothers are a nationally touring country rock and roll and Americana group. Their latest album, The Falling of the Pine, celebrates Maine’s rural history and landscape by re-imagining a collection of 19th century folk songs collected in the 1927 book “The Minstrelsy of Maine”. The Mallett Brothers have a clear connection to the land, and to Sebec specifically. The Malletts grew up just a few miles away from the concert location at Eagle View Ranch. The farm (formerly Varnum Farms) is a 2,000+ acre property that was recently protected by MFT and sold to a farmer who is starting a beef cattle operation on the land. The farm is the largest that MFT has ever protected, and stretches for 6 miles along the Sebec River and the River Road.

The young farmers of Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen prepared a casual dinner of local food including pulled pork and chicken salad sandwiches, fresh veggie salads, and berry hand pies. Threshers Brewing Company in Searsmont and Bissell Brothers Brewing in Portland donated beer for the event, and The Bangor Daily News was the media sponsor. Concert-goers brought picnic blankets and chairs to watch the band play and the sun set behind the pines. By all accounts, the show was a great way to celebrate Maine farms and cap off another brief but abundant summer season! Stay tuned this winter/spring for news about our 2018 Agrarian Acts concert…

380-acre organic dairy farm protected in Jay and Wilton

On August 16, Thayden and Nora Farrington protected their 380-acre dairy farm with an agricultural easement through MFT. Thayben Farm sits on two parcels in Jay and Wilton, and the couple inherited the farm from Thayden’s father. The Farringtons made the decision to protect the farm from development as they prepare to pass the farm on to their granddaughter.

Thayben Farm has always been a dairy farm and Thayden transitioned to organic production 12 years ago, now selling milk to Organic Valley Cooperative. The Farringtons grow hay and balage on the  100 + acres of tillable ground. There was once an orchard on the farm and the family grew corn off and on over the years.  The southern parcel sits on Spruce Mountain and has beautiful views of the surrounding hills and mountains.  The property extends up to the top of Spruce Mountain and was previously used as a ski hill.

We are honored to be part of making sure that this family farm will remain available for farming for future generations!

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