Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
Family Farm Awarded $150,000 LCHIP Grant For Conservation

December 5, 2019 – At an award ceremony yesterday in the Governor and Council Chambers in Concord, the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELT), received a $150,000 grant from the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) to conserve Clarke Farm in Epping and Newmarket. This project was one of 33 projects across the state that received $3.5 million in matching grants from LCHIP.

“We are so appreciative of LCHIP’s investment in conserving important farmland in New Hampshire,” said Jeremy Lougee, SELT’s Conservation Project Manager and Farmland Coordinator. “The Clarke Farm is an example of a small, family farm growing food for its community, and this LCHIP award will enable SELT to protect this agricultural resource while also maintaining clean drinking water, critical wildlife habitat, and open space for future generations.”

Purchased in 1977, Clarke Farm straddles the Newmarket and Epping town lines. There, Jack and Linda raise beef cattle and sheep, largely on pasture, and they have built this operation over time with careful attention to soils and long-term sustainability. Over the years, they've transitioned unmanaged, low-value forest back into productive farmland fields that now produce quality hay and feed, grasses for grazing, and superb finished meats.

In addition to its important contribution to the local food system, Clarke Farm also provides extensive and exemplary wildlife habitat. Development, as experienced in southeastern New Hampshire, often breaks up habitat making it difficult for wildlife to thrive. Once protected, Clarke Farm will connect nearly 5,000 acres of conservation land surrounding the Wild & Scenic Lamprey River, thereby enhancing habitat for a variety of wildlife species, protecting clean drinking water for people and allowing local residents to explore the extensive network of forest trails the Clarke’s maintain on their land.

Speaking about why they felt it is important to conserve the remainder of their farm, Jack and Linda shared, “We’ve poured our lives into this family farm over the past 40 years. We’ve improved the soils and the land with an eye on sustainability and profitability. We want to make sure that our farm will continue to be a viable and productive operation that feeds our community long into the future.”

Projects are being supported in each of the state’s 10 counties. This grant round was highly competitive, with over $7 million in funding requests compared to $3.5 million available for grants. LCHIP Board Chair Amanda Merrill of Durham observed “The LCHIP Board of Directors was particularly impressed with the variety and quality of projects seeking support this year.”

Grant recipients are required to raise a minimum of one dollar for each dollar provided by LCHIP. This year’s awards of $3.5 million will be matched by more than $10 million that the project proponents will raise from other public and private sources, infusing a total of almost $14 million into the state’s economy in direct project activity.