The Monadnock Conservancy: 22 acres of farmland along Connecticut River conserved

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WESTMORELAND, N.H. — When Bob and Elaine Moore of Westmoreland decided to sell a few acres of their family farm to people wanting to build a home a few years ago, they also realized what a treasure they had in owning open land. They wanted to find another option, rather than see it all developed.

"People are starting to take up a lot of the open land," said Bob. "The only way we could save it is to put it into an easement."

Now the Moores have voluntarily conserved their land with the Monadnock Conservancy, a local land conservation organization, to protect the fertile soils in these 22 acres, mostly open farm fields edged with a few acres of woods.

"I like getting up into the field and being able to look out and see Vermont and Mount Ascutney, just standing out there," Bob reflected.

Bob and Elaine live on a section of an old farm, which was in the Moore family since 1921 when it was run as a dairy. Bob switched to raising beef cattle. Now the land is leased to a local dairy farmer who grows hay here for his cows.

While Bob and Elaine have made this place their home, so has it been a home for many — a miniature horse, a dog, cattle and a cat; bears, foxes, deer and hawks. The property is only one-quarter mile away from the Connecticut River, and has the rich soil to prove it. For the Moores, the soil provides a key ingredient for their large, productive vegetable garden each year. For the animals, it provides a rich ecosystem filled with grains for the cattle and horse and for the other smaller prey animals that hide in the tall grasses and wooded areas.

Thanks to ongoing efforts from the Monadnock Conservancy and support from the Town of Westmoreland, this land will never again be divided and sold for houses and, as Bob said, it will be "around for my six kids, even though they've grown up; they'll always have a place to call home."

Additional funding for this project came from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Thomas W. Haas Fund and the Russel Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation.

The Monadnock Conservancy, founded in 1989, is the only land trust dedicated exclusively to the 35 towns in the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire. Its mission is to work with communities and landowners to conserve the natural resources, wild and working lands, rural character and scenic beauty of the region. Based in Keene, N.H., the Conservancy is an accredited organization that has protected nearly 20,000 acres of forest, farmland, shoreline, wetlands, wildlife habitat and recreation trails in the region. For more information, visit www.MonadnockConservancy.org or call 603-357-0600.

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