Hurd Farm Conservation Completed (NH)
Hampton, NH, 5/5/2005: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that over 155 acres of Hurd Farm, straddling the Taylor River in Hampton and Hampton Falls, will be permanently protected for farmland and open space. Although the property will remain in private ownership, an agricultural preservation agreement over the property will guarantee that the most important farm soils will never be developed. A water quality and recreational preservation agreement on the lands along the river will protect water resources, and provide for permanent public recreational access. The agreements will be held and monitored by the Rockingham County Conservation District.
The Towns of Hampton and Hampton Falls passed bond measures in March 2004; Hampton contributed $2 million of the $3 million cost of the agreements, while Hampton Falls contributed towards the protection of the 26.4 acres within its borders. The remaining funds were assembled through a $500,000 grant from the federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP); a $400,000 grant from the USDA Federal Farmland and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP), and $100,000 from the New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP).
According to Julie Iffland, senior project manager at TPL, “conservation of the Hurd Farm is a win-win outcome for everyone in the community. It will allow the family to continue farming in a growing town, protect water quality in the Taylor River, and ensure permanent public recreational access to the land and river. TPL thanks the Towns of Hampton and Hampton Falls and the State of New Hampshire for their efforts and U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, former chairman of the Commerce-State-Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, who secured half a million dollars in funding from the CELCP program for this project.”
Senator Gregg stated, “The CELCP program was designed with the intention of protecting tracts of coastal land that are environmentally-sensitive and in danger of development and to promote coordinated land acquisition and protection efforts among non-governmental organizations and federal, state and local governments. The Hurd Farm project is a perfect example of why the CELCP program was started. The Hurd Farm has tremendous cultural value to its community and the Seacoast Region. After recognizing the force of encroaching development, the Rockingham County Conservation organization worked diligently to protect this valuable open space and land deeply rooted within the Hampton community. I would like to congratulate the local officials and conservation leaders who have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort toward this worthwhile project.”
A grant from the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) of $400,000 was also instrumental in the success of the project. The FRPP has been supported by the New Hampshire Congressional delegation.
The LCHIP award is among the final grants made from the funds available under the LCHIP appropriation in February 2004. A coalition of conservation and sporting organizations in New Hampshire has urged renewal of LCHIP funding, and Governor Lynch has included $10 million for the program in his FY ’07 budget proposal, currently under consideration by the Legislature.
Hurd Farm, which includes over 1.25 miles of frontage on the Taylor River, has been run by the Hurd family since 1926. Three generations of the Hurd family still live on the farm and continue to operate their dairy and composting business. But in rapidly-growing Hampton, high real estate values were putting economic pressure on the family. The Hurds decided to seek an agricultural preservation agreement for the property, allowing them to make needed farm upgrades and to continue the family business.
James Workman, Chair of the Hampton Select Board commented, “The Town of Hampton is delighted by the closure of the Hurd Farm preservation transaction. This agreement will maintain open space and preserve a portion of Hampton’s agricultural history. The Board of Selectmen wishes to express its gratitude to all those who were vital in bringing this matter to a close, including the Town’s voters, the Hurd family, US Senator Judd Gregg, the Trust for Public Land and the Rockingham Conservation District. Without these vital players as well as others too numerous to mention, this wonderful idea would not have come to fruition.”
TPL is a national nonprofit organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres in 45 states, including more than 200,000 acres in New Hampshire. For more information, contact TPL’s Concord office at (603) 224-0103 or visit www.tpl.org/newhampshire.