Small-Town Conn. Farm Protected from Development

By ecoRI News staff

BETHANY, Conn. — Located in the south central part of the state, economic activities in this small town have changed over the years. Once a thriving agricultural community, Cherry Tree Farm is one of the last remaining farms in town.

Recently, through a partnership between the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) and the Department of Agriculture (DOAg), a conservation easement has been placed on Cherry Tree Farm, saving the land from future development.

The farm has been in the Carrington family for more than 150 years. The owners — widowed sisters-in-law Edyth and Joan — were married to Carrington brothers and lived and raised their families in the same house. Joan and her son Bob have remained and continue to raise Belted Galloway cattle.

Several years ago, however, Bob Carrington approached CFT about preserving the land. CFT worked with NRCS and DOAg to secure funding. The fact that the farm has a high percentage of prime and locally important farmland soils made it a high conservation priority for protection.

“I’m proud to be a part of this partnership process that helps maintain our state’s water quality, keep our forests healthy, preserve local and statewide important soils, and sustain wildlife habitat,” said Thomas Morgart, of the NRCS.

“It’s been a great pleasure working with both Edyth and Joan as well as their children,” said Elisabeth Moore, CFT’s executive director. “Their collective commitment to protecting their farm is inspiring.”

The voluntary land agreement between the conservation partnership and the family allows the Carringtons to continue farming as they have for decades while protecting the farm from being developed.

“My husband, Gordon, loved farming and I am sure he would be pleased to no end that the land will always be used for agricultural purposes,” Edyth said.