Conservation Heroes

Richard’s Fruit Market: How a Conservation Easement Preserved a Century Farm

Eddie Richard with his daughter, Kayla Lawrence, and granddaughter, Dakota, in front of the fruit market sign.

Just outside of Middletown in Frederick County, Richard’s Fruit Market, established in 1953 by James Sr. and Mary Richard, is a favorite local spot for fresh fruit, vegetables, jams, meats, and seasonal flowers. Even more notable are their peaches and apples, which are celebrated […]

‘It Feels Special’

Bland County Couple Preserves Farm, Clears Debt for Retirement

It was 1960 when Gerhard Schoenthal started farming in Virginia and 1972 when he and his wife, Rosemary, bought their farm in Bland County.

In 2015, after more than 55 years working the land and enjoying its beauty, the Schoenthals were ready to slow down, but for them, as for so many farm families, farming their land had meant taking on debt. The land, where all their resources […]

‘Just Good Folks’

Appraiser Assists as Schoolteacher and Wife Protect Dinwiddie Timber Tract

“We are the land.”

That’s how retired mathematics teacher Clay Jones explained his decision to place his 305-acre timber tract in Dinwiddie County under conservation easement with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Raised on a 671-acre farm in Henrico County, Jones remembers streams with water so clean you could drink it, abundant timber for sustainable harvest, and bountiful wildlife, such as the […]

Easement Protects Century Farm and Chesapeake Bay

Talk about reaching far.

Ronnie and Cheryl Nuckols recently placed a conservation easement on their 175-acre Overhome Farm in Virginia’s Goochland County. The easement protects land that their vision and hard work has transformed into a kind of paradise, with clear streams, green pastures nearly year-round, a cow-calf operation and a menagerie of pets all thriving on the land, gorgeous gardens, and a beautifully restored home that’s been in the family for generations.

Farmer, Attorney Debunks Myths About Conservation Easements

Time was, you could earn a good income in southeast Virginia on your own land, in forestry or growing peanuts.This is no longer true, said Michael Drewry, an attorney specializing in land use and local government law who farms nearly 250 acres in Sussex and Surry counties. He also serves on the Surry County Board of Supervisors. Drewry recently placed a conservation easement on his farm and assisted his parents, Howard “Cutter” and Joan Drewry, […]

Family Farms Saved in Virginia Peanut Country

Conservation Easements Protect 1,000 Acres from Financial and Development Threats

When Brenda and Moyler Pond protected more than 1,000 acres on their family farms through conservation easements, they had two very good reasons for doing so.  Two proposed industrial and transportation development projects – both now set aside – had made them feel their farms were under threat, and the benefits of placing the easements offered a financial planning alternative to possibly selling land.

Augusta County Family Protects Nearly 300 Acres

Don and Sue Hanger have lived full lives in Augusta County, Virginia.  Through the years, they have raised a family — two sons and a daughter — and worked land farmed by their families for generations.  For 40 years, Sue worked in the county treasurer’s office. For more than 30, Don was a teacher at Valley Vo-Tech, now Valley Career and Technical Center, part of the Augusta County school system. Don even served 12 years […]