The Barr Farm, which borders both sides of Pond Road, is an important part of Shelburne’s agriculture heritage. Wayne Barr and Gail Parsons’ parents, Richmond and Elizabeth, bought the farm in 1946. The farm was active until Wayne sold his dairy herd in 2014. The family has had many development offers over the years, yet they want to make sure the land will continue to be farmed.
“I’ve lived and worked on this farm all my life,” said Wayne, “I hate to see development on good farmland and working with the land trust allows me to pass on the farm to a young, ambitious farmer. I’m also grateful for all the support from the community.”
Wayne and Gail, along with their nephew James Saunders, conserved the 154-acre farm and sold it to farmer Matt Baldwin.
Matt, who runs one of the larger hay businesses in the county, had been leasing the land. “The Barr farm is a wonderful piece of land,” explained Matt. “It’s a rare occurrence in Chittenden County…. I feel fortunate to be able to buy it. It fits in well with my plans for organic crops, value added products, and farm tourism.” Matt will continue to use the land for his hay business. He also plans to raise replacement dairy heifers.
In addition to state, federal, and town contributions to the project, the community also rallied to raise money, with many people contributing. “It just shows that the whole community feels very strongly about keeping open land in Shelburne,” said neighbor Ed Kiniry. The sale of the conservation easement meant that Matt was able to buy the farm at a more affordable price.
Conserving the land’s fields and woodland will also benefit water quality because farming activities will be restricted in a wetland area. This is especially important since farm is located next to the Shelburne Pond Natural Area. (April 2017)
Funded by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA NRCS), the Town of Shelburne, and contributions from 34 individuals and families.