The Sheffield Land Trust will announce a new farm conservation project at its annual meeting on Saturday, June 22, from 11:30-1:30 p.m., at the Batacchi Farm on Lime Kiln Rd. in Sheffield. The project to protect the farm promises to keep in agriculture land that has been farmed by four generations of the Batacchi- Larkin family.

There will be a potluck lunch and live music by The Lucky Three. Both Land Trust members and the general public are invited to attend. Bring your place settings and your favorite dish to feed six, drinks will be provided. Lunch will be at noon and the speaking program at 12:30pm.

The Sheffield Land Trust is working with the Batacchi family to protect their 270 acres of farmland and wildlife habitat through an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) to be held by the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources. Under this program that purchases the development rights on important farmland and supports agriculture, landowners apply to the state through a competitive process that looks at the soils and other agricultural resources. The APR ensures that the land stays in farming, and that if it ever is sold it will be to another farmer.

This is the fourth generation of the Batacchi-Larkin family to farm this land. Today, the dairy farm supports a 785-head herd, including 415 milking and dry cows. The farm is a vital part of the Larkin dairy operation, which rents the land and adjacent milking parlor.

Forty acres of the Batacchi farm is in crops, including corn and hay, and there are 180 acres of pasture, with the remaining acreage a mix of woodlands and wetlands. The pasture also provides essential habitat for rare species. Successful completion of the Batacchi APR will create a new eastern anchor for the Sheffield-Egremont Agricultural, Ecological and Scenic Corridor initiative of the Sheffield and Egremont Land Trusts, 5,000-acres of protected land in northwest Sheffield and southeast Egremont.

“Dairy farms are at the heart of our region’s heritage and maintain the majority of the landscape that gives us our quality of life and attracts visitors from around the world,” said Susan Rothschild, president of the Sheffield Land Trust. “We hope all of our members and others who are interested in supporting our mission will attend this year’s annual meeting to learn more about the Batacchi APR and our other activities.”

The Batacchi farm is located at 221 Lime Kiln Rd., between Rt. 7 and Sheffield-Egremont Rd. The annual meeting will take place under a tent in one of the fields.

Directions: From Rt. 7 turn onto Lime Kiln Rd. and go 0.4 miles then look for parking signs and the tent in the field on the right.

(press release sent to WSBS from the Sheffield Land Trust for online and on-air use)

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