Wilbur pg 5 11-29-18

caption: The Wilburs

WOODSTOCK — Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) announced the protection of Wilbur Farm in Woodstock, where a conservation-minded couple saw the importance of protecting their land against encroaching development from regional urban areas.
Paul Wilbur has worked to improve the 47.5-acre farm that has been in his wife Florence’s family for generations.
“We busted our humps to put this place back together, build a barn, clear pastures and get things cleaned up,” said Paul Wilbur. “I don’t want to see it go to house lots after all that effort.”
Wilbur grew up cutting hay in Smithfield, R.I., and later saw the fields disappear into commercial and residential developments. “It was a very rural town and I saw what happened. All the old apple orchards are now housing developments and traffic is a nightmare,” he said. “I could see Woodstock going in the same direction because it’s an ideal location for development between Hartford, Boston, Worcester and Providence.”
CFT worked with the Wilbur family to preserve their land, which boasts farm fields that are 100 percent prime and statewide important farmland soils. The farm was once a small-scale chicken and dairy farm and later became a beef and hay farm. It has been a haying operation for the last eight years.
When the Wilburs donated their conservation easement, they specifically chose CFT because it supports smaller farms. “Other groups are looking for 200- to 400-acre parcels and smaller farms sort of fall in the hole where there isn’t much support for
preservation,” Wilbur said. “CFT fits that niche and is willing to work with smaller farms.”
“We’re a group that understands the needs of farmers, that’s the reason a lot of people come to us,” said Kathy Doherty, Conservation coordinator for CFT. “We’re able to tailor the conservation restriction to allow farmers to continue farming and keep their livelihood.”
“Saving smaller farms is part of our mission in conserving Connecticut’s agricultural character and history. Not only do we preserve farms, we protect a way of life,” said Elisabeth Moore, Executive Director of CFT.
Agricultural conservation easements prohibit residential and industrial development, but allows for construction of agricultural structures on designated areas of the land. Since its founding in 2002, CFT has protected 49 family farms, covering 3,625 acres. CFT is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies on ordinary Connecticut residents to support its operations. CFT is Connecticut’s only statewide farm land trust, and the only land trust in the state dedicated solely to the protection of agricultural land.


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