For two generations the Weibel family has taken care of the land and the land has taken care of them.
Eugene Weibel has lived his whole life on his 200-acre farm in Lee Center. He loves to share memories of the farm where he grew up and later where he and his wife Rita worked the farm together; it is who they are.
Over the years, they watched the slow progression of development eating away at the neighbors’ farms, often destroying beautiful, and productive, fields and cropland as well as forests full of wildlife and pasture land for dairy cows.
They didn’t want the same thing to happen to their farm.
After reading about the protection of Spring Brook Farm in Rome, owned by a farm family they knew, Eugene and Rita contacted the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. They wanted to explore how they might conserve their land and still retain the flexibility they needed to sell it, in the future, without the risk of it becoming overrun with houses.
As with other farmland conservation projects, landowners like the Weibel’s clarify their conservation goals for their property and retain ownership.
The family continues to pay the property taxes, manage the property pursuant to the conservation agreement, and are free to give, sell, or bequeath their land as they wish.
“We have wanted to do this for a long time,” Rita said, “and now we have the peace of mind of knowing the land will be taken care of the way we want.”
That passion for the family farm will never be forgotten. While Rita and Eugene have both passed on, their vision for their cherished farm lives on for generations to come.