2022 in Review
A Message from CCFT President Dan Guss, delivered at the Nov. 17 Annual Meeting
Because of you and all of your support for farmland preservation, the Centre County Farmland Trust in 2022 preserved more land and made a lot of progress behind-the-scenes.
Thank you to all board members, supporting members and supporting staff for coming to our annual meeting, and for all of your hard work, enthusiasm and support for the cause of land preservation — the mission of our worthwhile organization.
Looking back at the year since our last annual meeting, a lot of good things have happened, and I will try to briefly recall that for you.
17th Preserved Property
This year, the Trust preserved 55 acres (pictured to the right) in Bellefonte, thanks to easement donor David Litke. The easement will stay with the land, guaranteeing it will remain open and undeveloped in perpetuity. The Trust now holds conservation easements on 17 preserved farms and 1,483 acres.
This is a really neat location right in the middle of robust housing and school development on the growing edge of Bellefonte. The Litke easement will be an oasis of green, open farm and forest land that will benefit future generations.
Soon, you’ll see a white and green sign with our name and distinct, Round Barn logo on Litke’s land off Blanchard Street, designating the land as preserved. (See image below right of Trustee Larry Hutchinson presenting the sign to David Litke in June at our appreciation event.)
Behind the Scenes
This year, so many good things happened behind the scenes.
First, we appreciate the contributions of our board members! We all have busy lives, but there has been an incredible contribution of time and energy from the group! The hard work of this group has been vital in our recovery over these last couple of years after the loss of our offices and managing director all during a pandemic.
For the coming year, I am confident we will continue to have a dynamic group, and also hope that some of you supporters who are not board members will be willing to join us for some expanded volunteer opportunities.
This year, we must recognize that we have made really, really significant progress in our financial position.
It is just so special to have received a very generous contribution of about $129,000 from the estate of one of our founders, Lynn Miller. Read more about this.
Then we have the $180,000 three-year grant from the Hamer Foundation which should result in our being able to establish a stable, properly staffed organization going into the future.
We also were able to establish a $50,000 operating endowment fund through a special matching program with Centre Foundation.
In addition, we had significant help from a yearly ongoing Hamer Foundation Grant, Happy Valley Adventure Bureau grants for our Farm Routes outreach, the yearly Centre Gives program, and steady ongoing giving from our individual loyal supporters.
A special shout-out to the Farmland Preservation Artists for their expression of our values, and for significant contributions from sales of their artwork. (FPA artist Brienne Brown, pictured to the right, along with artists Peg Klinger and Jen Shuey, painted at farm-to-table restaurant RE Farm Cafe in late September to raise funds for farmland preservation.)
To manage our fortunate funding situation, we have now established a financial policy and appointed a financial advisor.
Of course, all of this is about stewardship of the land, and we have made good progress in that area as well. We have made a good beginning on being able to improve on our ability to monitor and service the 1,483 acres we are protecting.
Stay tuned for next year, when with the professional help of ClearWater Conservancy, we are going to be training and unleashing our effective group of volunteer land stewards!
(Would you like to become a volunteer land steward in 2023? Make sure you're on our email list or drop us a message. HERE.)
We also have to thank ClearWater for the technical and legal help that they made available from Ryan Hamilton. We have been able to do a complicated and lengthy easement placement this year on an outstanding piece of land on the donated David Litke easement.