The Land Trust has permanently protected 596 acres of prime farmland at Catalpa Farm in Canandaigua with a conservation easement.
Funds for the project came from the state’s Farmland Protection Implementation Program (FPIG), administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, as well as the Town of Canandaigua. The farm is located along the east side of Route 332, just north of the city where many property owners face increasing development pressure.
Nestled in the hollow of Trenchman’s Hill north of Canandaigua, Catalpa Farm has seen changes over its long history. William Pritchard started a dairy farm in the late 1800s. It remained a dairy until the late 1970s, when it was split into two separate farms by Roger and Edson Pritchard. Chris and Gary, sons to Roger and Edson continued to grow each individual farm through the 1980s and 90s. Recently, Gary’s son Seth purchased the half owned by his cousin Chris, effectively re-uniting the land as one farm again.
Over the years, the Pritchard family has upgraded the machinery used on the farm, purchasing larger equipment to help improve efficiency. Most of the equipment is outfitted with satellite guidance, allowing for localized applications of fertilizer and reduced runoff. This level of farming efficiency is important ecologically, as the farm drains into Beaver Creek and Padelford Brook, a primary tributary to the Canandaigua Outlet.
Catalpa Farm is located within 1 mile of Brock Acres, a commodity crop farm, where 726 acres will also be protected by the Land Trust using funds from the FPIG and the Town of Canandaigua. Both farms are located in the Town of Canandaigua’s proposed “Padelford Brook Greenway,” a farmland protection program aimed at reducing commercial and residential development pressure. Catalpa is the third farm the Land Trust has protected in partnership with the Town of Canandaigua and New York State.
“We’re grateful for the Pritchards’ commitment to the land as well as our partners at the Town of Canandaigua and New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets,” said Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp. “We’re particularly appreciative of New York State Senator Pam Helming’s leadership of this project when she was serving as Canandaigua Town Supervisor.”
“Farming and agriculture are the cornerstone of our community and play a critical role in our local and state economy,” said Senator Helming. “Conserving precious farmland at Catalpa Farms, where nearly 600 acres have been permanently saved, will help to ensure future generations are able to utilize this land for its intended purpose—farming. Many thanks to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, the Town of Canandaigua and the Pritchard family for their efforts in seeing this project through to completion.”
“The Town of Canandaigua has a long history of agriculture involvement,” said Town Supervisor Greg Westbrook. “The Town is committed to continuing to promote, preserve, and protect our agricultural lands for our children and grandchildren through purchase of development rights programs, and other open space and conservation efforts. Congratulations to the Pritchard family on this historic occasion, and the permanent protection of this very visible farmland along NYS Route 332.”