Farmland Preservation Presentation at the Belchertown Agriculture Commission

by Lee Halasz, Regional Conservation Coordinator at Kestrel Land Trust 2017-2018

On Saturday, I spoke at a gathering organized by the Belchertown Agricultural Commission. I used a Powerpoint presentation to discuss farmland preservation and provide information from a farmland mapping and town outreach project which I conducted in Belchertown in Spring 2017 during my first year of service (TerraCorps was then called MassLIFT). Also presenting was Melissa Adams of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, who outlined the various grant programs that MDAR offers farmers.

The talks nicely complemented each other, and it was good to meet Melissa, learn more about the work of MDAR, and understand how that relates to the work of Kestrel Land Trust. There were twenty local landowners in attendance and they seemed engaged and interested in the information.

The event was a great opportunity to meet local farmers and chat with them afterward the presentations, both about farmland conservation and more generally, over cider, coffee, and the baked delicacies that some of the landowners brought with them. It was definitely a low-key, social, farmer-focused event with information built in, perhaps the ideal way for land trusts to reach landowners.

The gathering helped raised the profile and hopefully the interest in farmland conservation, and will hopefully encourage some landowners to pursue conservation of their farm. I am sure that further conversations between Kestrel Land Trust and landowners will result from the afternoon. I thank the Belchertown Agricultural Commission for taking the initiative to hold such an event.