In the early 2000s, Equity Trust acquired 150 acres of agricultural land in Kinderhook, New York, which we steward in partnership with Roxbury Farm CSA, owned and managed by Jody Bulloyt, who holds a 99-year ground lease to the land and owns the buildings on the land. Now, two decades later, we have completed a land swap which adds 43 acres of agricultural fields to the property in exchange for the transfer of 31acres of wetlands to The Wetlands Trust (TWT) for conservation.
Leased for years by Roxbury Farm, the fields we acquired are an integral part of the farm operation, linking the Equity Trust property to additional lands leased by the CSA, yet the farm has never had secure tenure to those fields. Merged with the rest of Equity Trust’s land, they now will be managed under the same ground lease arrangement as the rest of the property, adding to the long-term viability and security of the farm.
Although deal provides a net gain of just twelve acres, it actually provides a full 43-acre increase in agricultural land secured by Equity Trust for Roxbury Farm. The wetlands that we gave away are not farmable, due to frequent flooding and lack of access from the rest of the property, and have been left undisturbed for many years. TWT will manage them together with abutting riparian wetlands, as habitat for turtles and other wildlife, and they will continue to serve the farm as buffer against flooding.
After several years of discussions about the future of this land, the details of the land swap were negotiated throughout 2022, with the final closing in March 2023. The deal involved three parties, and several steps. Open Space Institute Land Trust (OSILT) initially sold TWT 116 acres comprised of upland agriculture fields and low-lying wetlands along the Kinderhook Creek, just south of the Equity Trust property. Then, in the second part of a simultaneous transaction, TWT traded their newly acquired agricultural fields to Equity Trust in exchange for our 31 acres of wetlands. OSILT also holds an agricultural conservation easement on Equity Trust’s land so, as a final step, we extended that easement to include the new fields and used the opportunity to update the easement, making it more protective of farming by strengthening restrictions on subdivision while increasing flexibility for the placement of agricultural buildings on the property. The newly configured property is now more strongly situated than ever to continue providing healthy food to families throughout the Hudson Valley for many decades to come.