Centre County Farmland Trust 2021 in Review
CCFT President Dan Guss’ 2021 summary, presented at November’s annual members meeting
This year has been one of both challenge and progress for the Centre County Farmland Trust.
One of our biggest challenges has been the loss of the services of our executive director, who had been provided by Centre County on a part-time basis since our founding in 1994.
The County Commissioners have offered to help us with five person-hours per month, which is helpful in accessing information and references that only the County can provide.
Still, there has been a loss of that continuous guidance, organization and expertise that only a dedicated and paid manager can provide. This is an ongoing issue that we will continue to work through in 2022, as the board takes steps to hire staff.
Nonetheless, the Trust made progress in 2021.
Progress Made in 2021
New Board Members
We have been blessed by an infusion of new, dedicated and knowledgeable board members.
Mary Kennett, Nancy VanLandingham and Catherine Smith were all appointed to open Board positions in May. At November’s annual meeting, Kennett, VanLandingham and Smith were each elected to terms ending Dec. 31 of 2022, 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Their presence is bringing us new energy and expertise. This cannot be overstated.
Protecting a Historic Barn
For instance, leaning on expertise from new members, we were able to navigate a very tricky situation, and we have been able to prevent the sale and dismantling of a historic barn, protection of which was included in our very first farmland conservation easement in 2004.
Renewed Capacity For New Easements
We also are grateful for the cooperation offered by ClearWater Conservancy allowing us to work with their preservation expert, Ryan Hamilton. This has given us renewed capacity to navigate the process of writing easements.
We’ve been working on an easement this year that will allow preservation of a nice parcel of farmland. We’re looking forward to sharing that news as early in 2022 as possible.
Thank you to our Partners: Landowners, Farmland Preservation Artists, HVAB
Every year we get wonderful support from the Farmland Preservation Artists. They are continuously capturing the beauty of our preserved lands and sharing the proceeds from their painting sales with the Farmland Trust.
Last but definitely not least, we have benefited from the contributions of our public communications program, led by Lisa Duchene at Polished Oak Communications.
One excellent event this year was a “trail walk” on the beautiful and unique preserved forest and fields owned by Shari Edelson and Scott Dennison (originally preserved by Nancy Parks).
With the help of grants from the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, we’ve been able to transform our annual in-person Farm Tour into our “Farm Routes” self-guided tours. This “signature event” has been an important part of our public outreach and participation. We think we are seeing some increased interest due to our continuing efforts to "get our story out there" (even during the pandemic) to those who would preserve their land and those of you who have supported that effort.
Thank YOU all!
Again, I want to thank you all for your membership and your support of the work we do together in the Centre County Farmland Trust.