Located in the scenic Brushy Mountains between Love Valley and Harmony are 410 acres of family farmland. This farm, an organic dairy and organic beef cattle operation, is owned by a father and son operation. Now, this farm operated by Jim and Sam Dobson, is permanently protected for many more generations of Dobsons to carry on the family tradition.

On March 11, 2022, Three Rivers Land Trust conserved the 410 acres of land, 78% of which are considered prime and statewide important soils. As defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is available for these uses. This is massively important for farmers like the Dobsons to have productive land for their farming operation.

When reflecting on this project, TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead states, “Farmland conservation is an important facet of what we do at Three Rivers Land Trust. According to the American Farmland Trust, it can take 2-3x the amount of marginal land to make up for the loss of Nationally Significant land, which is why it is important to conserve land like the Dobson farm before it is too late. Unfortunately, in North Carolina we are losing farmland at an alarming rate, primarily to low density development, but projects where we can conserve local farms like the Dobson’s are a great step in the right direction to combat that loss.”

Jim Dobson Jr. was also extremely pleased with the completion of this project and commented, “Our family has been farming this land for eight generations, and now it is permanently protected. It is important that land like our farm is conserved so that we can provide good, wholesome foods for the consumer, and for that reason, I believe that it is essential that our fellow farmers do all they can to conserve their farmland too.”

“For over three years we have diligently worked to conserve this property and now that it is complete, we could not be happier,” states Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director. “The Dobsons are a wonderful family, and we are grateful to have worked with them to protect their 410 acre organic beef and organic dairy farm, a true gem in Iredell County.”

This project was made possible in part by grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the N.C. Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Lands Easement Program and the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

To learn more about how to conserve your own lands or how you can support Three Rivers Land Trust in their conservation mission, please contact Emily Callicutt, Land Protection Specialist at Three Rivers Land Trust by calling 704-647-0302 or by email at emily@trlt.org.