A 93-acre tract of land off Highway 150 in the Cleveland area of Rowan County provides a stark contrast between two ways of life: agriculture and new home construction. The existing soybean field provides a picturesque backdrop to a new housing subdivision that is immediately adjacent. This dichotomy of uses is another example of the impact of growth NC is experiencing as the nation’s 9th fastest-growing state.

Fortunately, the owners of this tract decided to maintain their rural lands and keep farming alive by electing to place their land in a conservation easement. The property was placed under a permanent conservation easement in a partnership between Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) and the family. This tool allows for the family to continue to own and lease the land for farming, while simultaneously prohibiting it from being developed. “NC agriculture and farmers rely on the ability to lease land for farming” states Travis Morehead, Executive Director of Three Rivers Land Trust. “Very few farmers own all of the land they farm, making farm leases essential in keeping NC agriculture and farmers in business.”

“Saving family farms is a core tenant of TRLT and exemplifies who we are as an organization,” stated Crystal Cockman, Associate Director of Three Rivers Land Trust. “We have a deep appreciation for our local farmers and an understanding of the development pressure NC agricultural lands are facing. This conservation easement ensures that this scenic piece of Rowan County will remain a local example of North Carolina’s strong agricultural industry.”

This family’s dedication to conserving this property underscores the importance of community and conservation working hand in hand to protect the natural beauty and important agricultural lands that define our region. The family protected this land in honor of their ancestors, Edgar Lipe Baker and Marie Krider Baker, who left this property to their care and stewardship.

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

About Three Rivers Land Trust

Three Rivers Land Trust works with private landowners and public agencies to conserve the most important natural areas, scenic rivers, family farms, and historic places in a 15-county region of the central Piedmont and Sandhills. Since 1995, The Land Trust has worked to offer reasonable and attractive options to landowners who want to save their lands for future generations to enjoy. Our mission is to work thoughtfully and selectively with property owners, conserving land that is essential to our region. For more information about Three Rivers Land Trust, please contact the Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or membership@trlt.org or visit their website at trlt.org.