REGIONAL: Three Rivers Land Trust conserves agricultural land in Rowan County

Published 2:46 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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A 93-acre tract of land off Highway 150 in the Cleveland area of Rowan County provides a stark contrast between two ways of life: agriculture and new home construction. The existing soybean field provides a backdrop to a new housing subdivision that is immediately adjacent.
This dichotomy of uses is another example of the impact of growth North Carolina is experiencing as the nation’s 9th fastest-growing state.

The owners of this tract decided to maintain their rural lands and keep farming alive by electing to place their land in a conservation easement. The property was placed under a permanent conservation easement in a partnership between Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) and the family. This tool allows for the family to continue to own and lease the land for farming, while simultaneously prohibiting it from being developed.

“NC agriculture and farmers rely on the ability to lease land for farming,” said Travis Morehead, executive director of Three Rivers Land Trust. “Very few farmers own all of the land they farm, making farm leases essential in keeping N.C. agriculture and farmers in business.”

“Saving family farms is a core tenant of TRLT and exemplifies who we are as an organization,” said Crystal Cockman, associate director of Three Rivers Land Trust. “We have a deep appreciation for our local farmers and an understanding of the development pressure N.C. agricultural lands are facing. This conservation easement ensures that this scenic piece of Rowan County will remain a local example of North Carolina’s strong agricultural industry.”

The family protected this land in honor of their ancestors, Edgar Lipe Baker and Marie Krider Baker, who left this property to their care and stewardship.

To learn more about how to conserve lands or how to support Three Rivers Land Trust in their conservation mission, contact Emily Callicutt at Three Rivers Land Trust by calling 704-647-0302 or by email at