For most farmers in North Carolina, farming is not just about making a living, it’s a way of life. For the Porter family, conserving their farm was an easy decision and one the entire family was on board with. On March 28, 2024, the Porters conserved 367 acres with a permanent conservation easement in cooperation with Three Rivers Land Trust, NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, and the USDA Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.

This 4th generation farm is predominantly used to raise livestock. The family also operates a farm store where they sell the products grown on their land. Additionally, the Porters have two large venues where they host weddings and other events. Four generations of Porters have lived on this land, and the generational component is one of the main reasons Tommy and his wife Vicki decided to permanently conserve their property.

Tommy reflects on what this decision means to him: “my wife and myself, we started thinking about conservation easements many years ago, and it has been our dream to protect this land. It’s always been a passion of mine to farm. We have three grown children, and ten grandchildren. Our three grown children and their spouses all work full time on the farm. Our grandchildren even though they range from age 18 months to 12 years old, they love the farm, they love the life here, so we are trying to protect this so that if they choose to make their living on the farm, they will have that opportunity to do for their generation and hopefully their children and grandchildren.”

“The rural landscapes of the piedmont and sandhills of North Carolina are becoming a haven for new development. The rural character we all enjoyed is disappearing right before our very eyes. That is why “saving family farms” is a core tenant of Three Rivers Land Trust,” states TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead. “Helping families like the Porters realize their dream of seeing their farm conserved is one of the most important types of projects TRLT can accomplish. Knowing that this farm will always be protected, available for food production, and able to give us a visual reminder of what much of North Carolina use to look like. We are proud to work with the Porter family to accomplish their conservation goals.”

“With the proximity of this farm to both Concord and Charlotte, conserving this tract is not only a rewarding endeavor, but also a timely one, as this area is quickly being turned into subdivisions and housing developments,” states TRLT Associate Director Crystal Cockman. “The Porters have other additional lands they would like to conserve in the same manner.  We (TRLT) are hopeful to be able to assist them and other landowners like the Porters while there are still large undeveloped tracts of land available.”

This project was made possible by funding from the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, and the USDA Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and the support of other TRLT members.  If you would like to find out how to conserve your property or support TRLT’s conservation mission please contact Emily Callicutt, Senior Land Protection Specialist, at