Virginia Pick-Your-Own Farm Owner Preserves Agricultural Heritage With Conservation Easement

December 1, 2011

tomatoes on the vine

Photo courtesy Snead Farm.

Caroline County, Va.—This year’s harvest season for the Snead’s Farm in western Caroline County has yielded more than just produce and Christmas trees. The Conservation Fund, Fort A.P. Hill and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) announced today a conservation easement on 290-acres at Emmett Snead III’s pick-your-own style farm. Under this land preservation agreement, Snead will continue to maintain its current use as a working farm while forever protecting this acreage from development detrimental to the health of the nearby Rappahannock River.

Located along scenic U.S. Highway 17, Snead’s Farm and road side stand supports 20 local jobs and offers a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, including fresh-picked asparagus, sugar snap peas, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, sweet corn, watermelon, okra, tomatoes, squash and zucchini. Visitors are encouraged to walk around and explore every-day happenings on the farm from the sunflower field to the chicken coop to the pumpkin patch. In the winter, customers go to Snead’s to cut-their-own Christmas trees.

“Generations from now when there are 14 billion people in the world, we believe the highest and best use for this property will be for farming,” owners Emmett and Ellen Snead said.

With technical assistance from The Conservation Fund and VOF, Fort A.P Hill purchased the conservation easement with funding provided by the Department of Defense Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program. VOF will hold the easement.

Fort A.P. Hill Garrison Commander Lt. Col. John W. Haefner said: “Protecting America’s investment in military readiness by ensuring we can train as we must fight is at the heart of our ACUB effort. We are grateful for neighboring landowners who support our combat training mission and are willing to work with us and our conservation partners to sustain that readiness as well as preserve family farms and open space.”

At nearly 76,000 acres, Fort A.P. Hill is one of the largest military installations on the East Coast, bordering Caroline County—the third fastest growing county in Virginia—and Essex County. The ACUB program allows Fort A.P. Hill to partner with agencies and non-governmental organizations to share the cost of acquiring conservation easements and fee simple purchases from willing landowners whose properties are located within designated ACUB priority areas. In addition to creating a buffer of open space around Fort A.P. Hill, and thereby safeguarding the installation’s training mission, the ACUB program preserves valuable wildlife habitat and sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources.

“VOF is pleased to permanently protect this property, which not only acts as a buffer for Fort A.P. Hill but also provides a farm experience and local produce for the residents of the greater Fredericksburg region,” said Estie Thomas, easement manager in VOF’s Tappahannock office.

“This effort is a great example of modern conservation,” said Reggie Hall, Virginia director for The Conservation Fund. “We are not only protecting wildlife habitat and a popular agritourism business, but we are also helping to ensure that our country’s military warriors will have a place to train as they prepare to defend our nation and fight for freedom. It’s a relationship where everyone wins—the military, the environment and the community.”

 


 

About the Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Established in 1966, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation protects more than 620,000 acres of natural, scenic, historic, recreational, and open-space lands in the commonwealth for future generations. As the holder or co-holder of the conservation easements acquired through Fort A.P. Hill’s ACUB program, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation provides the commitment to perpetual stewardship essential to the viability and success of the partnership. www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org


About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.

About the Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Established in 1966, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation protects more than 620,000 acres of natural, scenic, historic, recreational, and open-space lands in the commonwealth for future generations. As the holder or co-holder of the conservation easements acquired through Fort A.P. Hill’s ACUB program, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation provides the commitment to perpetual stewardship essential to the viability and success of the partnership.www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org