Jefferson County Celebrates Addition of 40th Protected Farm
Earlier this week, the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board celebrated the addition of 76.5 acres of protected farmland. Jefferson County's Protected Farmland now expands to 4,038 acres with the addition of their 40th farm.
The property, owned by William and Deloris Nicewarner, includes more than 93% prime and statewide important agricultural soils. The farm supports grain crops, hay production, and beef cattle.
John Reisenweber is the executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority. He says, although it may seem like protecting farmland would limit production of other developments such as housing and other structures, for Jefferson County and most of the eastern panhandle, protecting farmland helps economic development.
“There’s intrinsic value to having green space in a community. You’re talking to a guy who loves to backpack and hike and mountain bike, and you know, be outdoors. So it’s important to protect green space, and farmland protection does that, and we’re starting to see the growth of micro-farming, smaller agricultural businesses in the community, and if we can protect farmland and allow our farmers to make a profit, then that’s good for the economy, and that’s good for economic development.”
The addition was made possible with the recent $290,640 bargain sale purchase of an agricultural conservation easement for the Circle N Farm in the Charles Town District. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board provided matching funds to make the purchase possible. The Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle is the co-holder of the easement.
An “agricultural conservation easement” is a voluntary, legally-recorded deed restriction that is placed on a specific property used for agricultural production. It enables landowners to permanently protect the agricultural, historical, and scenic values of their property.