Cow corn boarders a mature orchard with a red barn in the background at the Pettey/Silvia Farm on Sodom Road
Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT), in partnership with the Town of Westport and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), has announced the permanent protection of the Pettey/Silvia Farm on Sodom Road in Westport. MDAR has purchased an Agricultural Preservation Restriction over this 35-acre farm, which will continue to be owned by the Pettey/Silvia family.
“This farm has been in my family for 60 years,” says owner Steve Pettey. “My goal was to ensure that it would remain that way, and continue to contribute to agriculture in Westport.”
MDAR works with interested farmers to purchase Agricultural Preservation Restrictions on working farms across Massachusetts. Landowners apply to the program, farms are ranked based on their farm soils, resources, and community investment in agriculture. These farms can never be subdivided or developed and must remain in active agriculture. MDAR partners with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), municipalities and non-profits like WLCT to protect critical farmland.
“We’re pleased to have partnered with the Westport Land Conservation Trust on the preservation of 35 acres of farmland at the Silvia-Pettey farm in Westport,” said Dan Wright, Massachusetts State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
A vast expanse of tillable farmland at the Pettey/Silvia Farm
“By providing funding through the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, we’re able to help farmers and partners protect working agricultural lands and prime farmland soils, which provides many environmental benefits for the Commonwealth. Thanks to the Silvia-Pettey family and the WLCT, this land will remain in sustainable farming for many generations.”
WLCT raised $150,000 in private funds and the Town of Westport contributed $150,000 from Community Preservation Act (CPA), which was approved at its 2020 Town Meeting.
“WLCT was thrilled to assist with the protection of this critical farm on Sodom Road,” says Ross Moran, executive director of WLCT. “This is the sixth working farm WLCT has protected in five years. It will be forever protected because of the Town and community’s commitment to Westport’s farmers and farmland.”
To date, twenty-seven farms, covering over 2,000 acres of Westport’s working farmland, have been protected since the MDAR Program’s inception in 1972. The Town of Westport and WLCT have provided critical funding and local assistance to complete these projects.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is grateful for the partnership of the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the Town of Westport in the protection of the Pettey property in Westport. With the support and partnership of land trusts and municipalities our administration is able to protect more sensitive farmland each year,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux.
WLCT was thrilled to assist with the protection of this critical farm on Sodom Road. This is the sixth working farm WLCT has protected in five years. It will be forever protected because of the Town and community’s commitment to Westport’s farmers and farmland.