HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg), in cooperation with Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), is pleased to announce the third phase of a multi-year project to permanently protect Gallup Homestead Farm in Voluntown has been completed.
Gallup Homestead Farm is owned by Byron Gallup, a thirteenth-generation dairy farmer. With no heirs and a strong desire to protect the family farming legacy, he applied to CT DoAg’s Farmland Preservation Program with the goal of protecting the land for future farmers outside of the family name.
“It has been an honor working with Byron Gallup to preserve his family’s farm and I’ve learned his deep personal devotion to conservation in the process,” said Kathleen Doherty, Connecticut Farmland Trust’s Conservation Manager. She added, “Keeping the family farm as farmland was also his father’s dream. Preserving this 123-acre parcel is a key part of realizing the vision of ensuring farming is a viable option for future generations of farmers.”
The farm encompasses approximately 500 acres in total, which has been divided into a multi-phase project with separate easements to allow for more flexibility in the future. The first easement, Gallup Homestead Farm II, closed in August 2020, and the second easement, Gallup Homestead Farm I, closed in October 2021 protecting a combined total of 296 acres. This third easement, Gallup Homestead Farm IV, protects an additional 123-acres.
“Connecticut has a rich agricultural history and through the forward-thinking actions of farmland owners such as the Gallup Family, it will remain that way,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “Our working farmlands are critical to sustaining our local food supply. Through collaboration with the landowners and support of our partners, these smaller tracts of farmland will be more accessible to new and beginning farmers when the time comes to transfer or sell the property.”
Gallup Homestead Farm is also surrounded by the 26,000-acre Pachaug State Forest and a 150-acre protected farm. This creates a cluster of farmlands critical to keeping agriculture sustainable in Connecticut. To protect the land, the CT DoAg approached CFT to assist in the purchase of the farm’s development rights. CFT and the State jointly secured an Agricultural Conservation Easement Program grant from the USDA-NRCS.
“NRCS has made a commitment to protecting Connecticut’s working lands,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Thomas L. Morgart. “Partnering with state and local officials – in this case the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut Farmland Trust – to place conservation easements on valuable farmland ensures the parcel will never be subject to development. Almost 72 of the 123 acres being conserved on Gallup Farm are prime and locally important farmland. This means they are high yielding soils that are key to meeting short- and long-term needs to feed and clothe a hungry world,” he said.
Through the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), agricultural land easements protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing the conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. Land protected by these types of easements provide additional public benefits including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space.
This marks the sixth farm, and 456 acres protected this calendar year by CT DoAg. Since the inception of the program in 1979 the state has protected 405 farms and 47,802 acres. For more information on Connecticut’s Farmland Preservation Program, visit our website for program overview, frequently asked questions, and contact information.
Connecticut Farmland Trust is the only land trust in the state dedicated solely to the protection of agricultural land. Since its founding in 2002, CFT has protected 72 family farms, covering more than 5,534 acres. CFT, a private accredited nonprofit, works with farm owners, community organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies to protect the best Connecticut farmland for current and future generations of farmers. Learn more at CTFarmland.org.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service – an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air, and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state’s economy. For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.
–Connecticut Department of Agriculture
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Connecticut Farmland Trust