Seek No Further Farm–Leaving a Legacy
Casper Kohler’s reasons for keeping his 100-acre farm intact ran deeper than money. “Money: you spend it and it’s gone,” he said. “I guess you call it leaving a legacy.”
“Cap” farmed the land for many years, as a dairy, and later as a hay and grain farm. It has 70 tillable acres, 15 acres of woodland and a home site, a pond and agricultural buildings. The land is gently rolling, and traversing the property is a small stream that is one of the headwaters for Manada Creek. It is in West Hanover Township, which makes his vision is all the more special, since the area is zoned for high-density residential development, is traversed by a sewer line, and borders US Route 22. Since the farm was protected, it has become an oasis of agricultural land surrounded by increasing suburban sprawl.
Cap purchased the farm in 1940 when he was 20 years old and lived there with his wife until she passed, and then the rest of his long life. Cap loved his farm and spent his last years improving it by selectively cutting and thinning the woodlands, planting 2000 trees and bushes to provide a riparian buffer along the stream, and building a new fence around the property. He was determined to “leave a speck on this earth better than I found it.” He died in 2003 at the age of 83, and did, indeed, leave a legacy. The farm now has a new owner, and it is an active and working organic farm.
We are often asked whether conservation properties will sell, and how hard it is to find buyers for properties on which conservation easements have been placed. The Kohler Farm provides a great example of how much interest there can be in a conservation property. After Cap’s death, the farm belonged to his children for some years. They eventually came to a decision to sell the property, and this farm went up for auction. The farm was advertised as a conservation property, and Manada Conservancy’s prominent sign on US 22 indicated that we are the holder of the easement. The Conservancy office received many calls from people with concerns about what would happen to the farm, interest by potential buyers who wanted to find out more details, and from others who wanted to know just what an easement was. That the auction resulted in the successful sale of this farm is testament to the fact that, yes, conservation properties do sell, and the result can be very satisfactory to both buyer and seller. We were very pleased to meet the new owner, Mr. Arnold, and happy that the farm has found such a caring new owner. We think Cap would be pleased, too.