Newbury Farm & Forest Conserved

The organic dairy farm on Corey Hill Road known locally as the Meyette Farm, now owned by David “Bert” and Pam Vines, will be protected from development forever. The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) has recently purchased the development rights from the Vines on 320 acres of open land and forest that support their farming operation by recording a conservation easement deed.

The purchase of the easement was made possible through UVLT’s Blynn Garnett Fund, a land conservation fund established in 2006 by Blynn Garnett through her will for the protection of property on or near the North Road in Newbury. Blynn Garnett left her land and house to UVLT in her will. UVLT sold the property subject to conservation restrictions. The money from the sale has gone to support further conservation in the area, such as the recent conservation of the Vines’ farm. Garnett’s obituary expressed her wish, “I wanted to do it for Newbury. I love North Road and I love West Newbury and I want to help protect it.” Find out how you can leave a legacy at http://www.uvlt.org/legacy_giving.html.

Gilbert Meyette has lived and worked in Newbury on the recently conserved dairy farm since 1945. Some things have changed since 1945: the farm is no longer dependent on horses to tend the land, and the dairy was certified organic in 2006, but the landscape has remained the same. The property features prime agricultural soils, a stand of sugar maples, scenic hillsides, hayfields and pastureland.

Pam Vines grew-up in the old schoolhouse that is located across the road from the Meyette Farm. As a child she would assist the Meyette family on their farm by accompanying them on trips to the creamery. There, she would often be treated to an ice cream cone. Though Meyette sold the property to Pam and Bert Vines in 2006, he continues to live on the farm with them.

As UVLT Conservation Project Manager, James Thaxton puts it, “It’s an old farm with a lot of new energy. Pam and Bert are building their operation on a strong foundation and look forward to many years of farming to come.” The Vines currently milk 35 Jersey and Holstein cows on their hilly dairy farm, located on one of Newbury’s numerous back roads. They ship the milk to Horizon Organic in Buffalo, NY, where it is processed and then sold as fluid milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, or ice cream. While the price the Vines receive for their milk has decreased $1 per hundredweight this year and will likely further diminish in the coming year, the couple remain positive. The conservation of this property has provided them with funds necessary for the continued success of their business. They plan to grow and improve their organic dairy operation by paying down their mortgage, buying additional cows, and investing in needed equipment.

In addition to the financial benefits of conserving their land, it pleases the Vines to see land that has supported a dairy farm since 1900, stay as it is for generations to come. UVLT’s James Thaxton says, “Protecting the Meyette Farm will not only help to preserve the health and stability of the farming community in the region, but will protect the beauty of this area as well.” The Vines have been encouraged by their neighbors to protect the property in order to maintain the traditional rural character of the area. As Bert Vines said, quoting one of his neighbors, “This [conservation easement] is a way to conserve our little corner of Heaven.”