November 9, 2020

Apple Pond Farm Protected

The Conservancy is pleased to announce that Apple Pond Farm, 81 acres in Callicoon Center, Sullivan County, New York, has been permanently protected with a conservation easement.

Landowners Dick Riseling and Sonja Hedlund made the important decision to protect Apple Pond Farm with a conservation easement with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy that will ensure the land will forever remain affordable and viable as a farm. The property has been farmed since 1865 and is a prominent fixture in the local community.

Under their direction since 1973, Apple Pond Farm has been both a food producer and education center. It has focused on organic production of a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as meat products including sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys. Warmblood and draft horses were bred at the farm and many were used in the fields, woods, and hotel livery services.

In 2003, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation became a major focus at the farm, resulting in the production of 95% of Apple Pond Farm’s electricity and hot water via wind and solar systems. Its agricultural, ecological, and renewable energy tours, classes, and workshops have been attended by thousands of people from 27 countries. More than 300 farm and renewable energy apprentices are now farmers or employed in food-related or renewable energy positions in municipalities, universities, or sustainable commercial enterprises.

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently protects a property’s natural values while the landowner continues to own and manage the land, subject to the permitted uses detailed in the easement. The conservation easement on Apple Pond Farm allows for a variety of activities including farming and forestry.

Read the story Sustainability, Community, and Friendship: The Legacy of Apple Pond Farm >>

Funding was provided by Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)’s Delaware River Watershed Working Lands Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a collaborative conservation initiative. This funding comes from the initiative’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Funding was also provided by the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In addition, the conservation easement was supported by the Delaware Highlands Conservancy Land Protection Fund and the generous donations of individuals who wished to see this special farm protected forever.

Learn more about protecting your land with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy in the Landowner Corner >>