Panton acreage conserved as farmland

PANTON — Ed and Beverly Biello were not considering conservation when they bought a home and land in Panton in 2000. Their property had scenic views of Lake Champlain with good access from Adams Ferry Road so they looked into selling house lots.
The fate of the land changed after the Biellos were approached by the Allens, neighboring farmers who were interested in buying all the land to support their dairy farm. To make such prime land affordable for farming, the Biellos sold a conservation easement on 104 acres to the Vermont Land Trust before selling the land to the Allens.
“Working with the Vermont Land Trust was a great outcome for Beverly and me,” said Ed Biello. “We’re pleased the land is conserved and it allows the Allens to buy it at an affordable price. They’re young, ambitious farmers and we know they’ll make good use of the land.”
The Allens are also pleased with the outcome. Joe and Becky Allen and Joe’s mother, Claudia, own Allendale farm, a modern dairy with 750 head. Joe and Becky are the eighth generation to run the farm, which has been in the family since 1791. Now, they have the additional cropland they need to support their herd.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our family farm,” said Becky Allen, a large-animal vet. “We’re familiar with conservation restrictions because Claudia conserved two other farms in Panton and Ferrisburgh. We intend to continue the long history of good land stewardship and we’re glad this good farmland won’t be developed.”
The property has good agricultural soil with large meadows that are easy to farm and well drained. The land has been used for hay and corn. In addition to protecting the productive farmland from development, the easement also places logging restrictions on 20 acres of uncommon clayplain forest.
“The sale of conservation easements has been critical to keeping scenic, open land available to farmers,” explained Al Karnatz of the Vermont Land Trust. “Once you develop farmland, it’s very unlikely it will ever become farmland again. We at the Vermont Land Trust are grateful that the Biellos and the Allens decided to work together to protect this productive land for future generations.”
The conservation easement is held by Vermont Land Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The purchase of the conservation easement was funded by both state and federal sources. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board grant contribution is matched by the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program managed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Nadine Berrini of the Vermont Land Trust.

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