Derry Celebrates Farm’s Protection (NH)

DERRY, New Hampshire, 8/14/02: The Town of Derry and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the conservation of 116 acres on English Range Road, including the 86-acre Corneliusen farm and 30 acres of adjacent land owned by the Ferdinando family. Today’s announcement successfully concludes a yearlong campaign to permanently protect this land from development. Supporters will gather at the farm this Thursday, August 15, 2002 at 5:00 pm for a celebration.

Thanks to strong support from the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, state elected officials, and area residents, the Town’s commitment to the project was matched more than dollar-for-dollar by funds from state and federal grant programs and from private supporters.

In phase one of this creative project, the Town purchased the majority of the Corneliusen farm, approximately 76 acres, for just under $784,000. Sources of funding for this purchase included $125,000 from New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, $100,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, $95,000 from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Farmland Protection Program, $150,000 from the Town of Derry, just under $189,000 from the Derry Conservation Commission’s Land Fund, and $125,000 from close to 50 private contributors.

Adjoining landowners purchased the remainder of the Corneliusen farm-just over 10 acres-for roughly $111,000. This land is permanently protected from development by restrictions held by the Derry Conservation Commission.

In phase two, the town acquired an agricultural preservation easement over 30 acres of land that lie adjacent to the Corneliusen farm and are owned by Philip and Diane Ferdinando, whose family operates J&F Farm. In exchange for this easement, the Town deeded a 38-acre portion of the former Corneliusen farm to the Ferdinando family. Before transferring ownership of this land to the Ferdinando family, the Town placed an agricultural preservation easement over the property. The easement guarantees that the property will never be developed and will continue to be managed as active farmland.

The town plans to manage the remainder of the Corneliusen farm, approximately 38 acres, for wildlife habitat and low impact recreation. A conservation easement over this acreage was donated to the Rockingham Land Trust.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 30,000 acres in New Hampshire. To learn more, visit

Statements by Coalition Members and Partners

“Derry citizens worked hard with town, state and federal officials and TPL to save this part of our rural heritage in southern New Hampshire,” said Paul Needham, chairman protem of the Derry City Council. “Our success is a testament to the power of partnership.”

“This is great news for the Town of Derry,” said Paul Dionne, chairman of the Derry Conservation Commission. “Despite the fact that our community’s population has doubled since 1980, and Derry is now the fourth largest town in the state, it still maintains a rural feel. Acquisition of this important land is critical to our efforts to preserve that character.”

“This is a terrific example of what can be accomplished when residents come together to protect what they value about their community,” said Julie Iffland, project manager for TPL. “Conservation of this land brings us one step closer to maintaining an active farming community in Derry, surrounding communities, and the entire state.” TPL purchased the Corneliusen farm last January for $895,000, at the request of local officials, and held the property off the market while funding was raised from federal, state, and private sources.

“My family and I are happy to be a part of the project to conserve this land,” said Phil Ferdinando. “This kind of outcome helps assure that farming will continue to be a part of Derry’s future, as well as its past.”

“The protection of the Corneliusen farm and the adjacent Ferdinando family land illustrates the strong conservation work happening in southern New Hampshire and our locally elected officials’ commitment to protecting our state’s rich agricultural and natural resource heritage,” said U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (NH-R). “New Hampshire’s open spaces are under pressure from commercial and residential development and I commend the Town of Derry and the Trust for Public Land for developing an innovative public/private partnership and year long campaign to permanently protect this precious farm landscape.”

“It is important to protect these open spaces,” said U.S. Senator Bob Smith (NH-R), “and I am pleased to have been of assistance to this community based initiative.”

“I commend the Town of Derry and the Trust for Public Land for their successful effort to conserve the Corneliusen property and adjacent farmland,” said Rep. John E. Sununu (R). “The Town, the State and the federal government joined private contributors to raise the funds to permanently protect the property from development and preserve the area’s agricultural heritage. As a strong supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s State-side Grant program, I am pleased to see it dedicated to a locally-driven conservation project here in New Hampshire.”

“Corneliusen farm was a complicated project that used practically every utensil in the land conservation toolbox,” said Rachel Rouillard, director of New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. “It required the cooperation of multiple partners and the integration of a great variety of protection mechanisms. Plus, Derry has an impressive track record of planning and executing locally initiated land conservation deals. We’re thrilled to have played a key role in this exemplary project.”

“We in the Natural Resources Conservation Service are pleased to be able to offer a program that helps protect working farmland in New Hampshire. Working with the Trust for Public Land and the other partners has helped enhance productive agriculture in Derry and New Hampshire,” said state conservationist Richard Babcock of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

“This is an important acquisition for the people of this Town,” said state representative Phyllis Katsakiores (R-13). “Rather than getting more houses and buildings, Derry residents will enjoy a permanently green scenic and historical open space.”

“I remember when my children and wife worked with Marie and Bob at harvest time picking, sorting and getting the apples ready for market,” said State Representative John Gleason (R-13). “It’s wonderful that all of Derry’s future generations will be able to share similar experiences.”

Directions to the Corneliusen Farm Celebration on August 15, 2002:

(Celebration site is approximately 10 minutes from the I-93 exit).

Take Exit 4 off of I-93 and travel east on Route 102 (towards the center of Town). Travel through town, following Route 102 directly through the traffic circle (exiting on the third right). With Beaver Lake on your right continue to travel east on Route 102 for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto English Range Road nis a terrific exampl(balloon will be attached to the street sign). Follow English Range Road approximately 1 mile. On your right, you will see a gate, also with balloons attached. Turn down this dirt road and park.