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Newly protected farmland in Starks, Searsmont, and North Berwick

On July 31, Julie and Brian Fernee closed on the sale of an easement on their 85-acre Fernee Farm in North Berwick. The easement was the result of a long collaboration between the Fernees, MFT, and Great Works Regional Land Trust, who took assignment of the easement at closing. Julie, a lifelong animal rights activist, operates a rescue farm for neglected and abandoned animals on the property, and keeps 17 acres of fields in hay, orchard, and pasture. It is her desire to see the land protected from development and affordable for future farmers. An Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV) was included in this easement to help insure that it is actively farmed in the future.

On July 16, Christa and Mike Bahner of Bahner Farm (& their kids Lizzy and Nicky) closed on the sale of an easement on a piece of farmland they recently purchased in order to expand their diversified vegetable farm. Bahner Farm has a popular farmstand along Route 3 in Belmont, and when a 12-acre piece of land down the road came up for sale that had similar soils to those on their home farm, they jumped at the opportunity to buy it. In order to make the purchase more affordable, the Bahners sold an easement to MFT that prohibits residential development outside of modest farm support housing. The Bahners are excited to secure this piece of land to grow their operation, and are happy to know that it will remain available for agricultural use into the future.

On June 16, Thomas Lequin donated an easement to protect Ironing Board Farm, his ~52 acre property in Starks. Tom purchased the farm in 2013 after retiring from his job as a pastor in Farmington. Over the past several years, he has completely renovated the farm buildings and improved and reclaimed the farm fields. He grows and sells vegetables from a farm stand and also from his truck in Anson most days every week, and the fields are hayed by local farmer. Tom is planning for the future of the property, and may eventually donate the farm to a beginning farmer. In the meantime, he wanted to protect the land to ensure that it will remain farmland for the future.
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