PORT WILLIAMS – More farmland is now protected and will be preserved in Kings County after more than 140 acres has been donated in trust for future farming.
Patricia Bishop and Josh Oulton of TapRoot Farms in Port Williams have donated an agricultural easement of their agricultural land to the Annapolis Valley Farmland Trust Society, a non-profit group dedicated to securing farm land for future agricultural use.
Trust chairperson Brian Newcombe, a ninth-generation farmer, said the easement – a plot of land kept in trust for agricultural usage – still remains under Oulton and Bishop’s ownership but will remain to be used for agriculture only, even if it's later sold and the surrounding land is developed.
“Farming land is a finite resource – one it’s gone, it is gone. We have to keep what we have for the sustainability of this industry in our area,” he said.
The Kentville-based trust has been acquiring easements from landowners since 2013. With each acquisition taking about six months to one year to complete, Newcombe said it’s a slow but rewarding process. This latest acquisition brings the trust’s protected area to more than 160 acres.
And since protected land restricted to be used only for agriculture-related activities, Oulton and Bishop felt they were putting their land in trusting hands.
“We want to put our land into the trust because agricultural land is a precious resource that must be protected in perpetuity. ...The land needs all of us to stand up and protect it,” said the couple in a statement.
The non-profit trust provides owners who donate with a charitable tax receipt for the value of the donated easement.
The trust’s short-term goal is to have secured 1,000 acres over the next five years, according to Newcombe. Their long-term goal, however, has no limit.
“We’re building momentum to continue forward with getting some more land under protection,” he said.
“We’ve had good response and good support from farming groups and people willing to grow farm trusts. That’s exciting for us to have that support.”