America loses 50 acres of farmland to development every hour. David Coulter did not want his family’s farm in Cambria and Wilson to become a part of that startling statistic.
Since 1889, four generations of the Coulter family have worked on and loved this land, growing strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, sweet cherries, peaches, melons and more.
Dave’s father, Jim Coulter, ran the farm from 1978 until he passed away in 2009. Jim was a beloved farmer and businessman in Niagara County.
Dave took over after Jim passed away. With no one in the Coulter family lined up to succeed Dave as the next farmer, there was a sense of urgency to protect the 126-year-old family farm. The outpouring of memorial gifts from family and friends after Jim’s passing made it possible for the Western New York Land Conservancy to help the family protect their land.
On Dec. 4, 106 acres of the Coulter Farm were permanently protected with a conservation easement. The protected land includes over 40 acres of cropland and orchards, 50 acres of forest, and nearly half a mile of Twelve Mile Creek. Dave still owns the land and the Land Conservancy holds the conservation easement, ensuring that the land will be available for agriculture forever. The Coulter Farm is now the largest property protected by the Land Conservancy in Niagara County.
Dave and his wife, Ursula, are excited about the protection of the family farm. “The great thing about protecting our farm from development,” Dave said, “is that it makes the land more affordable for the next farmer. This will help keep our family’s legacy going.”
The Coulter Farm is important to Western New York. It grows and sells fresh produce to our region’s residents. As a locally owned business, the farm creates jobs and generates tax revenue. Its farm market and “u-pick” berries attract visitors who spend money on other local services during their trip. Visiting families get a place to experience a farm, learn about where their food comes from and enjoy being outside during summer.
Western New York’s treasures can be found all over the Coulter Farm. The forests are home to spring wildflowers like trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit. The farm fields support bird species like the threatened northern harrier. The stream is home to fish, frogs and dragonflies.
The Land Conservancy is working to make sure that future generations of Western New Yorkers have good soils to grow their food, natural places to clean the air and water, and healthy habitat for our wildlife. “The Coulter Farm represents all the reasons why we protect farmland in Western New York,” said Executive Director Nancy Smith. “We hope we can assist other farmers in Niagara County who would like to protect their land.”
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for future generations. The Land Conservancy envisions a future in which open spaces, working lands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The Land Conservancy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State. Land trusts have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.