By Scott E. Kinney, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, August 25, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- A celebration was held last Wednesday for the conservation of the town's last dairy farm.
Local, state and federal officials were on hand at the south field of Hurd Farm to thank all that were involved in the permanent preservation of the 155-acre farm, which has been in the Hurd family since 1929. The farmland borders the Taylor River in Hampton and Hampton Falls.
U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) played a significant role in the land's conservation, securing a $400,000 grant from the federal Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program and another $500,000 from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.
Locally, Hampton residents approved a $2 million bond in March toward the cost of conservation easements, while Hampton Falls chipped in with the contribution of more than 26 acres.
"The community deserves a great deal of credit," said Gregg. "This is one of the few projects that I've been involved in where community dollars have dwarfed federal dollars."
Speakers at the event expressed gratitude to the Hurds for their willingness to enter into a contract with the Trust for Public Land, giving up their development rights to the land for significantly less than its value.
"We are very pleased to be part of the conservation of this place," said Rachel Rouillard, executive director of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. "I'd like to thank the Hurds for their dedication to this project."
Hampton Selectman Cliff Pratt was nearly overcome by emotion as he recalled his memories of the Hurd family farm.
"I'm a farmer at heart and preserving this is wonderful," said Pratt. "Steven and Kevin (Hurd), if your father were here today he would be very proud."
Sheryl Hurd, who spoke on behalf of the family, said they were thankful for the work of the several agencies involved in the farm's preservation.
"To lose this would be especially sad for my husband Steven, who loves what he does," she said. "I think we've got something good going on here."