Other family farms
Deep Creek Farms, Yadkin County - 637 acres
“My whole life I’ve been working this land trying to keep the farm together. Now with Piedmont Land Conservancy’s help, I know it will still be farmed well after I’m gone. It’s a great feeling.” – Lenuel Chamberlain
Lenuel Chamberlain’s farm has been in his family for more than 100 years, and is registered as a North Carolina Century Farm. He mostly raises Black Angus cattle and hay. Over a period of four years, he donated several conservation easements on 637 acres to permanently protect his land, taking advantage of generous tax benefits for donated easements.
Retired as a farmer, today Lenuel is busy managing his new indoor horse facility, the Lone Hickory Arena, which hosts the Tri-State Youth Rodeo Association and many other horse events.
Transactional funding by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund
Iseley Farms, Alamance County - 218 acres
“I love farming” – Jane Iseley’s license plate
Jane Iseley’s family has been farming her land since 1790, sustaining seven generations of Iseleys. After a career in photography, Jane returned to the family farm in her 40s to help her ailing father and learn how to run the farm. As an only child with no children of her own, she wanted to be sure her family land was protected after she was gone. The Iseley Farm agreement includes more than 400 acres of pastureland and forest along a mile and a half of the Haw River in Alamance County. A North Carolina Century Farm, the “Home Farm” has grown tobacco, fruits and vegetables, as well as provided grazing pastures and feed for cattle. Today, this local produce farm grows 39,000 strawberry plants, 10,000 tomato plants and a variety of other summer produce, in addition to pasture-raised beef. Iseley Farms is well known for its pick-your-own strawberry operation and hosts the popular Vegetable Barn where local food fans can buy produce from nearly two dozen Alamance County farmers. Iseley Farms is within an Alamance County Voluntary Agricultural District, a member of the North Carolina Forestry Stewardship Program and a NCDA Certified Roadside Farm Market.
Lindale Farms, Guilford County - 107 acres
“My legacy to my children and my community is to leave this one small piece of land.” ~ Frances Austin
Situated on the Deep River in the city limits of High Point, Lindale Farm was attractive for development and Frances Austin knew that estate taxes would make it difficult to pass the farm onto her children. She was looking for a flexible tool that would enable her children to inherit the land and by so doing preserve the memories she and they shared of hiking in the woods, fishing in the pond, and working the family’s dairy herd. She approached the founders of PLC in 1990 and after countless discussions and meetings, donated a conservation easement to PLC in December of 1995. The donation of this easement was an historic moment for PLC as it was PLC’s first conservation easement. In 2004, when Frances passed away her dream of having her children be able to continue to own the farm that had been in the family since the early 1900s was achieved because she had donated a conservation easement almost a decade before. PLC is honored to have played a role in helping Frances make her dream of leaving a natural legacy a reality.
Project funding provided by the landowner and PLC.
Murray Farm, Alamance County - 135 acres
Murray Farm is adjacent to a county significant natural heritage site, Bass Mountain, in Alamance County. The farm encompasses rolling pastures surrounded by forests and streams. Having purchased this property in part for its natural beauty, the Murrays ensured these natural features were protected forever by donating a conservation easement protecting agricultural capacity, wildlife habitat, and the water quality of the streams that traverse the property. PLC accepted the easement in 2005.
Project funding provided by the landowner.
Spach Family Farm, Forsyth County - 57 acres
Situated at the confluence of Silas Creek and Muddy Creek, two tributaries of the Yadkin River, this small family farm was protected in 2001. The easement protects the agricultural soils, wildlife habitat, and open, rural character of these last remaining acres of the original 165-acre farm purchased in 1890 by the Spach Family. Sybilla and her two sons, Roger and Ronnie, currently grow pumpkins and pick-your-own strawberries on the farm.
Project funding provided by the landowner and PLC.
Fieldstone Acres, Alamance County - 280 acres
“North Carolina is growing so fast that we’re losing our farms. I don’t want that fate for Fieldstone Acres. We’re glad that PLC has helped us accomplish our wishes.” – Betty Jean Foust
Fieldstone Acres had been in J.D. Foust’s family for more than 200 years. J.D. and his wife Betty Jean granted a conservation easement to PLC to permanently protect their land in 2011. Located near the Snow Camp Community of Alamance County, the 280-acre farm is a mix of forests and fields. The fields produce hay while the forests provide habitat for a wide array of plants and animals. Streams traverse the property and drain into Cane Creek in the Haw River basin.
J.D., who has since passed away, hoped this project will spur additional farmland protection in the area. “We’ve told several people about our plans to protect Fieldstone Acres and everyone is supportive,” said J.D, the former Deputy State Treasurer for North Carolina. “Hopefully, after seeing our project completed they will validate their support and begin protecting their own farms.” Betty Jean adds.
It marks the 13th completed project for the Conservancy in Alamance County and increases the acreage protected in the county to 1,165 acres.
Johnson Family Farm
“I feel that as a farmer, it is up to me to insure that the way of life I chose is available to future generations. We cannot continue to allow productive farmland to be developed. Our land and natural resources are our greatest treasure. It is our duty to protect them.” – Molly Johnson
For the Johnson Family, farming is a family affair where everyone works fulltime. Mark and Molly Johnson, Mark’s brother Randy and his wife Carolyn, and Mark and Molly’s sons Will and Wesley - who are the 4th generation to work the land –raise soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco and beef cattle. They have become one of the largest family farm operations in Surry County, managing land spread across the county. The main part of their farm and the original homestead area is highly visible in the heart of one of the Surry County’s most significant agricultural areas, along Zephyr Road between Dobson, the county seat, and I-77 to the west. Now, thanks to their tremendous generosity and concern for the future, 367 acres on 10 parcels are permanently protected for agriculture through a donated agricultural conservation easement.
“This land has been farmland for over 100 years, and the property has my family’s cemetery on it. I want to know that even after I’m gone it will still be farmland and never be cut up or developed.”Hal Kidd
Hal Kidd farms the old-fashioned way- no computers, cell phones or GPS like many farmers these days. He farms on his own, with the occasional help from a neighbor, to whom he always returns the favor. He raises cattle, silage and hay on his farm near Dobson in Surry County, which will always be protected. For Hal the decision to protect his farmland was simple. Under two different easements, Hal and his sister have protected almost 120 acres of their land, a bargain sale easement in 2007 and a fully donated easement in 2013. Using funds from the bargain sale of his first easement, Hal purchased additional farmland from a neighbor to place under easement as well. The easement also protects almost a mile of stream banks along the Fisher River, downstream from the headwaters near Fisher Peak.
Funding for the purchase of the first easement was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, PLC funds dedicated to protecting the Yadkin River Basin, the landowner, and the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission via the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.
“I decided to donate a conservation easement to Piedmont Land Conservancy to preserve the farm from development in the future, because I think this property is a unique ecosystem with diverse wildlife habitat. I wanted to do my part to protect a piece of property I grew up around, so future generations can appreciate the environment.” Dwight Seal
Dwight Seal, a native and lifelong resident of Surry County, conserved nearly 100 acres of fertile farmland and watershed buffer along the shores of Stewarts Creek Lake with a donated conservation easement. The lake, located in the Ararat River watershed, serves as the back-up drinking water supply for the Town of Mt. Airy. The conservation easement will ensure that this land remains in agricultural lands and will provide an important buffer along Stewarts Creek Lake to help protect the waters from runoff. Many towns have had to spend tax dollars to purchase land or conservation easements around their water supplies. Mr. Seal’s donation will ensure that current and future citizens of the region will have a safe, clean supply of drinking water – without taxpayer expense. The Ararat River also is a tributary to the Yadkin River, which provides drinking water to millions of people downstream in the Yadkin-Pee Dee watershed through the Piedmont of North Carolina and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. This property offers spectacular views along the lake looking up to Surry County’s highest point, Fishers Peak.
Funding for a portion of the transactional costs associated with this project was made available by the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
Jackie and Larry Gerringer own one of the few remaining dairies in Guilford County near Gibsonville. Long time dairy farmers, the Gerringers expanded their operation to include an on-site cheese making facility for their popular Calico Farmstead Cheese, available in markets from Raleigh to Davidson. The Gerringers are leaders in their communities’ farmland preservation efforts and have solidified the long term futures of their farms with their conservation easement. Larry Gerringer grew up on part of the land but he also bought almost 200 acres in 1965, shortly after he and Jackie married.
Some give credit for the delicious cheese to the way the cows are raised. The cows are rotated to a new, clean pasture each day and the grass if free of chemical sprays and fertilizers.