In September The LandTrust completed the permanent conservation of a 261‐acre organic dairy farm in western Rowan County. George Hoffner and his wife, Evelyn, along with their son Alan and his wife, Connie, placed conservation easements on the property. Alan and his son, Chris Hoffner, work the farm and transitioned the dairy to certified organic (currently operating under an agreement with Organic Valley) in 2006 and 2007. The property has been run as a dairy by the Hoffner family since the 1950s.
The transaction was assisted with funding from the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, administered by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Farm & Ranch Protection Program, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “This is a great example of the Federal and state governments working together with a local land trust to help a family insure the future of their farm,” says Andrew Waters, operations director at The Land‐Trust who wrote the original grant applications and helped guide the project to completion. Funding from the two grants will be used to help Alan Hoffner secure his father’s interest in the property. Many farms are put in jeopardy because of insufficient transition planning and as result are sold. “I really want to congratulate the Hoffner family for recognizing this situation and working with us to prevent it,” Water said.
Waters adds that LandTrust consultant Steve Blount and local NRCS district conservationist Larry Hendrix, along with local attorney Andy Abramson, were instrumental in the conservation effort. Waters comments, “As land conservation projects go, this one was very complex. Everyone involved worked very hard and put their faith in the importance of this effort.”