The Land Conservancy Permanently Protects Eden’s Meyer Farm | Environment
This week, the Western New York Land Conservancy permanently protected 90-acres of farmland – home to Frank and Linda Meyer – in the Town of Eden. The Meyer Farm conservation easement will ensure that the farmland remains available for agriculture even as development pressure increases in the surrounding area. This $244,000 project was made possible thanks to $120,000 from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, $60,000 from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and $4,000 from the Town of Eden, as well as a bargain sale of the development rights by the owner that reduced the cost by $60,000.
Dr. Meyer noted that, “my great-grandfather purchased this land in the 1800s and it has been in my mother’s family since that time. While we don’t personally farm the land, it has long been used for both vegetable production and field crops. I feel strongly that it has been my duty to be the steward who has been responsible for maintaining it as productive farmland and for charting a course for its future. I am pleased that as it passes on to new generations of owners it will be protected from development and the long history of farming that my ancestors began will continue.”
Eden has a very long history of working to keep its farms and farmland productive. The town has both an Agricultural Advisory Committee and a Conservation Advisory Committee. The process of developing an Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan in 2008 and 2009 renewed interest in permanent farmland protection. The Meyer parcel was among the first properties identified as a strong candidate for protection. At that time, the town received a donation of funds designated for farmland protection from the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Subsequently, the project was selected for funding from the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.
According to John Whitney of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, “The agricultural community has long hoped the Meyer Farm would be among the first permanently protected parcels in the Town of Eden. Not only is it valuable cropland but protection of this parcel greatly reduces the likelihood of incompatible residential, commercial or industrial development spreading from the hamlet of Eden northward into the regionally important Eden Valley agricultural area. The property will be forever available for agriculture thanks to the permanent conservation easement now in place as a result of the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program and the community’s commitment, contributions, patience and hard work over many years.”
The supervisor of the Town of Eden, Glenn R. Nellis, said that, “The town of Eden’s rich farmland and hardworking farmers make it one of the most historic communities in Western New York. Its agricultural heritage goes back two centuries and many generations. Protecting this heritage is what has and will continue to attract people and businesses to our region.”
With the purchase of development rights complete and a conservation easement now in place, the Meyer Farm becomes the second farmland property in Eden to be protected by the Land Conservancy, following 2012’s 102-acre Surgenor Farm. The Land Conservancy recently received several large, private donations from Town of Eden residents to expand the farmland protection program there.
Diane Held, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County and consultant to the Land Conservancy on farmland protection, believes that, "Formalizing an Eden Farmland Protection Program is an exciting next step in what has been a long history by the town, farmers and interested residents to keep Eden's farms viable and farmland productive."
Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith said, “Protecting the Meyer Farm took many years of hard work, persistence and multiple rounds of grant writing. We thank the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Town of Eden and the Meyers for making this a reality. We believe that this success represents a tipping point for farmland protection in Eden, and we hope to protect additional farms in Eden in the years to come.”
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a not-for-profit land trust that protects over 5,500 acres of land including scenic vistas, forested lands, fragile natural ecosystems, lakefront shorelines and working farms across the eight counties of Western New York. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities or to donate to the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.