Family's commitment to conserving land on Route 116 will support clean water in the LaPlatte River and local farming

The Ballard family has been farming their land in Hinesburg land since 1937. It lies on the west side of Route 116 two miles north of the village and has stunning views of the Adirondacks. There’s pasture, cropland, and woods that abut the town’s Geprags Community Park.

The farm’s owners, Tim and Kay Ballard, worked with VLT, the Hinesburg Land Trust, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, and the community to place a conservation easement on 177 acres of the farm.

The conserved land is used by dairy farmers

While the Ballards sold their dairy herd over 15 years ago, they’ve kept the farmland in production by leasing the cropland to neighboring dairy farmers who use it for hay.

“The Ballard farm is an excellent addition to a large block of conserved farmland,” said VLT’s Allen Karnatz. Over 1,000 acres are protected from future development in the immediate area.

Conservation also makes sure that the land will remain available, and more affordable, to future generations of farmers.

Cleaner water and other community benefits

The Ballard farm’s rolling fields slope down to a wetland that includes a tributary of the LaPlatte River. The land alongside the tributary will be kept vegetated with shrubs and trees to support clean water and wildlife habitat.

In the future, the town and farm owners may work to develop a trail that would join up with a trail in Geprags Park.

Not possible without community support and partnership

The project was enthusiastically supported by the community through a fundraising campaign led by the Hinesburg Land Trust. “The Hinesburg community has always recognized the importance of this open farmland,” said Andrea Morgante of the Hinesburg Land Trust.

The project also received significant support from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.