DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Dutchess County has finalized the conservation easement to protect the 170-acre Locust Grove Farm in the Town of Pleasant Valley owned by Mary-Elizabeth Atkins, according to Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro.
The county contributed $118,000 toward the purchase of the development rights, ensuring the land remains open and available for farming for current and future generations, said Molinaro.
The total price of the conservation easement was $1,056,410, with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets contributing $788,750 and Scenic Hudson providing the balance of the purchase price.
The Dutchess Land Conservancy was the grant applicant on behalf of the landowners served as project manager, provided a portion of the closing costs and will hold and manage the conservation easement on the farm. The landowners also contributed to the project covering a portion of the closing costs.
“Dutchess County recognizes the important role local farms play in our community – positively impacting our health, environment, character, and economy – and we are committed to promoting these assets," said Molinaro.
Locust Grove Farm straddles both sides of Salt Point Turnpike, with a prominent and distinctive red dairy barn right at the roadside, marked by the sign for Hackett Holsteins, and a stone main house located close to the road that was built in 1790.
The majority of the property consists of open fields with treed hedgerows separating the meadows. The Little Wappinger Creek runs through the eastern portion of the property and the northwestern portion of the farm is bordered by farmland already under easement and protected lands owned by Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.
The farm property was originally a portion of the Greater Nine Partners Patent, a land grant made in 1697. An intestacy proceeding awarded the property to John Brown and Charles Brown, father-in-law of the present owner’s great grandfather, William Herrick. The property has been owned since then by the descendants of William Herrick and his daughter, Mary-Elizabeth Herrick Hasbrouck, the present owner being Mary-Elizabeth Atkins, a granddaughter of the late Elizabeth Herrick Hasbrouck of Poughkeepsie and Salt Point.
Since the early 1900’s milk has been the principal crop for the property and has continually operated as a dairy farm. Locust Grove Farm has been leased by the Hackett family since 2009, allowing them to expand the Hackett Holsteins dairy operation, which already operated on nearby property in the Town of Clinton.
The Hacketts currently keep some 40 to 50 milking cows and their milk-fed calves on Locust Grove Farm and use the remainder of the fields to grow hay and corn for sale and to feed the cows on both farms. Hackett Holsteins, which has been designated as a Dairy of Distinction by the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program since 2010, on average produces 700,000 pounds of milk per year.
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