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PCC Farmland Trust closes on largest farmland conservation project ever in Pierce County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Seattle, Washington | December 15, 2016 – Having lost 70% of its farmland since 1950, PCC Farmland Trust’s protection of a 284-acre farm in Graham, Wash. is a huge win for Pierce County. Mountain View Dairy is 8 times larger than the average farm in the area, making it the largest farmland conservation project ever in the County. In addition to its incredible views of Mt. Rainier, Mountain View Dairy has some of the best remaining soils south of Puget Sound.

“After conserving farms in this community for nearly a decade, we are thrilled to have been able to protect one of Pierce County’s remaining large-scale farms,” said Rebecca Sadinsky, PCC Farmland Trust Executive Director. “Surrounded by fragmented farmland and residential development, this property was at high risk for conversion. It was platted for 59 estate homes at one point.”

In order to keep pace with skyrocketing land prices and move quickly when farmers can’t, the Trust deployed its innovative conservation strategy: Buy-Protect-Sell. To purchase Mountain View Dairy, the Trust secured $2.8M through a combination of philanthropic gifts and a loan from The Conservation Fund.

“The protection of this historic dairy not only helps transition a highly valuable, underutilized farm back into production – it assists our local agricultural community in continuing to provide fresh and sustainable food for the people of Washington,” said Caitlin Guthrie, Associate for The Conservation Fund’s Land Conservation Loans.

Once the land is off the market, the Trust protects its agricultural value by selling a conservation easement. With its
development potential removed, the land then becomes more affordable for farmers in the long run. PCC Farmland Trust already has a farm family in place ready to farm Mountain View Dairy organically, and has intentions of selling the property to the tenants in the next 10 years.

PCC Farmland Trust’s tenants, Haylee and Ryan Mensonides, produce for Organic Valley and hope to utilize Mountain View Dairy for organic feed, grazing livestock, agri-tourism, and more.

“We just want to have a positive impact on Pierce County, and leave something behind for our kids,” said dairy farmer Ryan Mensonides. “Mountain View Dairy – and the generosity of others – helps us do that.”

PCC Farmland Trust plans to protect more farmland in the Central Puget Sound using this innovative approach in the years ahead. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, The Latest Crop of News, and be the first to know details about the Trust’s conservation celebration at Mountain View Dairy in Spring 2017.

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PCC Farmland Trust works to secure, protect, and steward farmland in Washington, ensuring that local farmers productively farm using sustainable and organic growing methods. Mountain View Dairy will be the Trust’s 18th protected farm, bringing its total number of conserved acres to just under 2,000. PCC Farmland Trust was founded in 1999 by PCC Natural Markets, and has been an independent nonprofit ever since.