Originally posted in SeaCoastOnline.
OGUNQUIT, Maine – Paul Lapierre and his family recently completed an agricultural easement on Lapierre Farm in Berwick.
The easement was arranged and funded in cooperation with Maine Farmland Trust and Great Works Regional Land Trust. A reduced sale price from the family also made the protection possible.
Lapierre has worked his farm in Berwick for most of his 70 years. Now, future generations can carry on that work, knowing the farm’s 69 acres of fields and forests will remain available forever for farming and timber harvesting.
“As I got older, I started thinking more and more of all the years I’ve cared for the land and that it would be nice to keep it that way,” said Lapierre, who began farming at age 13 on his father’s land.
Lapierre negotiated the easement with Adam Bishop, project manager for Maine Farmland Trust, through its Purchased Easement Program. The project was managed by Darrell DeTour of Great Works Regional Land Trust, which was assigned the easement by MFT.
With the easement protection, traditional practices — such as haying, vegetable gardening, raising a small Hereford herd, and tree harvesting — can continue uninterrupted while the public can enjoy scenic views of the farm from Route 236 and Blackberry Hill Road.
“It’s such a beautiful setting,” said DeTour, who is stewardship coordinator for GWRLT and spent hours walking the property with Lapierre. “He loves his trees — so much so that he refuses to attach barbed-wire fencing to them. Rather, he takes his time and effort to cut, shape and install his own fence posts. Now, that’s a labor of love.”
GWRLT is engaged in a program to conserve additional farmland in the six towns it covers.
“Lapierre Farm is the fifth farmland property that Great Works has protected in Berwick,” said Michael Wright, a GWRLT board member and lifelong Berwick resident. “That totals 569 farmland acres conserved so far in Berwick alone.”
Great Works Regional Land Trust provides conservation opportunities to landowners in Berwick, North Berwick, South Berwick, Eliot, Ogunquit and Wells. Since 1986, it has conserved nearly 5,800 acres of land, including 27 farm properties. The membership supported nonprofit also hosts fundraising events and offers a series of outdoor hikes. For more information, visit www.gwrlt.org.
Maine Farmland Trust is a member-powered statewide organization working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance the future of farming. Since 1999, MFT has protected more than 40,000 acres of farmland throughout the state, while supporting 400-plus farm families. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org or call (207) 338-6575.