FREEPORT — The Freeport Conservation Trust has purchased a conservation easement to secure Winterwood Farm’s undeveloped future.
FCT said it has purchased the easement on the 46-acre farm, which is on Webster Road, for approximately $267,000. Bob and Simone Rodgers, owners of the farm, wanted FCT to purchase the easement so no homes or condominiums can be built on the land when they sell it.
“After a longer-than-expected process, we are very happy to have our land protected forever,” the Rodgers said in a FCT press release. “To know that it will not be part of the urban sprawl we have seen all around us gives us great peace and satisfaction.”
FCT President Kathleen Damon said she is pleased the organization has secured the easement on the “valuable and scenic farmland” following four years of fundraising.
“This transaction means that an additional, important piece of farmland will stay open and future farmers will not have to compete with developers to purchase the property,” she said.
The Rodgers have been living and working on the farm for 26 years. When it’s sold, restrictions will be implemented so the land can’t be developed.
As a result, the farm will have to be sold for about a quarter of a million dollars under its actual value. FCT created a conservation easement to make up the difference for the Rodgers, and to protect the land.
Winterwood Farm, which was established in the 1960s, has rich soil and sits on an aquifer that produces 90 percent of Freeport’s drinking water. The rolling green pastures hold the Rodgers’ home, two barns, fenced-in areas for horses, and several large oak trees. For the most part, the space is wide open.
Two state and federal programs awarded money for the project. Maine’s Land for Maine’s Future program contributed $105,000, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service gave $133,000.
Maine Farmland Trust and Maine Water Company donated money towards the easement, too. Additionally, more than $20,000 was raised from individual donors.
“We are grateful for all of the support – in the form of money, knowledge and humor – that allowed FCT to complete this farmland protection project,” FCT Executive Director Katrina Van Dusen said.
The Rodgers agreed and said without FCT, they don’t know what would have become of the land.
“We are very grateful to all who supported us financially and with their time, energy and perseverance,” they said.
Winterwood Farm, a 46-acre farm on Webster Road in Freeport, will be protected from development when it’s sold thanks to conservation easement obtained by the Freeport Land Trust.