CHESTERFIELD — A 37-acre hay farm is now protected from future development, thanks to the efforts of a local family and conservation enthusiasts.
Barb and Lucius “Lucky” Evans moved to the farm nine years ago and lease the fields to an area farmer, according a news release from the Monadnock Conservancy.
“Chesterfield is a good place to live. I have seen too many farms grow houses,” Lucky Evans said in the release. “New Hampshire agriculture is rare and important. I’d like to see this land stay a hay field or a farm.”
The Monadnock Conservancy now holds a conservation easement on the property. According to Stacy Cibula, deputy director of the Keene-based land trust, the conservancy managed the project, from securing funding to guiding the Evanses through the process, and will also be steward for the property to ensure compliance with the easement.
In an email, Cibula — who served as project manager — also described the contributions of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, which she said not only “championed the idea of conserving this property” but contributed $20,000 to the effort. Land, like this property, within the Route 63 corridor has been prioritized for protection by the commission, she noted, as has working farmland.
Another reason this land is valuable from a conservation standpoint is its proximity to Pisgah State Park and other areas already under protection, the Monadnock Conservancy said in its news release. Sixty-seven percent of this particular property has “prime agricultural soil,” the release says, and 73 percent is hay fields.
The property also has maple trees that are tapped annually.
In addition to the town of Chesterfield, funding also came from the USDA’s Agricultural Land Easement Program, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation and anonymous donors.
“If you drive along Route 63 — that’s a nationally designated scenic byway — you’ll see beautiful rolling fields and be treated to amazing sunset views of the Vermont hills,” Cibula said in the release. “In deciding to protect this land, Lucky’s heart was in the right place.”