By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Commissioners next week will consider signing a letter of support to the land trust, which is seeking farmland preservation grants from the state Recreation and Conservation Office to conserve a 149-acre farm at Port Williams and Schmuck roads and a 60-acre farm off Ward and Woodcock roads.
The item will be included on the commissioners' consent agenda next Tuesday.
“I would be happy to sign such a letter,” said Commissioner Jim McEntire, whose district covers the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
The farm at Port Williams and Schmuck roads is being used to grow feed for a nearby dairy farm, Michele Canale, North Olympic Land Trust conservation director, told commissioners in a Monday briefing.
The farm at Ward and Woodcock roads is being used to grow an assortment of seeds and produce for Nash's Organic Produce.
Both farms would be preserved for agricultural use if the land trust receives the $2.2 million it is seeking from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program for conservation easements and other project costs, Canale said.
In its 24-year history, the North Olympic Land Trust has protected 82 properties and more than 2,700 acres of land, including 430 acres of farmland, 460 acres of forestland and 10 river miles.
“Most of our work is in conservation easements,” Canale said.
“Easements are all voluntary. It's a legal agreement between the landowner and the land trust which defines the permitted and prohibited use of the property.”
Canale said state funding for conservation easements is “a little bit daunting this year.”
There were 24 applications and $8.5 million requested last year.
“This year, there's been $22.8 million requested and 37 applications,” Canale said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.