“Since we genuinely love this land, we hated the idea of building houses rather than growing hay.”
Authors: Hugh and Barbara Hodge
Location: Centre County
Land Trust: Centre County Farmland Trust
We kept seeing more and more houses being built. We would look up on the hills, almost on a monthly basis, and see another house going up. We felt strongly that the farmland really needed to be somehow or other preserved. Since we genuinely love this land, we hated the idea of building houses rather than growing hay.
Over the years we went to market with our own sweet corn, potatoes and various other vegetables. We’ve raised beef cattle, pigs, and chickens and sold the beef and chickens at market. We only grew grain for two years and soon realized that it was better to grow hay. We’ve also raised a lot of deer here over the years.
To some, our land may not appear all that special. It is not flat like you would like to have it ideally, but the hills have an attraction in and of themselves. We call the place Five Hills Farm and the name certainly is characteristic of the land. It is just a beautiful spot and the Penns Creek adds another dimension.
We did not have a single person who has said anything negative about our decision to preserve our farm. They either spoke positively of our decision or simply did not express an opinion, one way or the other. Some of the neighbors, at least one that I am aware of, has talked to the Centre County Farmland Trust about getting involved in the program. I suspect that there may be some others.
Our advice to them is: Do it! There are a lot of things to consider. We would certainly recommend it to anybody who is concerned about the land remaining in agriculture.
The Centre County Farmland Trust was very helpful and the experience was very pleasant. We certainly would not have been able to preserve our land without the guidance that was provided by the Trust. We really didn’t know anything about the process to begin with, and the Trust provided us with the information we needed every step of the way.