Curdy Barn

The Curdy Farm easement project was approved by the Ravalli County Board of Commissioners Thursday. 

Rick Rowan richard.rowan@ravallirepublic.com

The Curdy Farm Easement project required no discussion among the Ravalli County Commission before the board unanimously approved using $125,000 in open lands bond money for the project.

But the nearly 20 people who attended Thursday's public hearing and those who provided comments on the project all spoke in favor of its approval.

Tonia Bloom, a member of the Open Lands Board, said that Corvallis Future Farmers of America has seen increased interest from local youth. If land like the Curdy Farm isn’t available to farmers in the future, those youths will move somewhere else.

Gavin Ricklefs, the executive director of the Bitter Root Land Trust, said that the Open Lands Board actually scored the Curdy Farm as more valuable to the county than the land trust did, which clearly demonstrates its importance.

The Curdy Farm was reviewed by the Open Lands Bond Program, which assists landowners in finding the funding to conserve their land. It will cost $125,000 for the Open Lands Bond Program to help purchase the easement, according to Ricklefs.

The $125,000 covers the development value of the land that the Curdy family is giving up. Because the appraised value of the conservation easement is $400,000, the Open Lands Bond Program is getting a pretty good deal, according to Ricklefs.

The approval of the Board of Commissioners preserves the land as agricultural open space in perpetuity.

The land is made up of 100 percent "soils of state importance," which means the property is extremely fertile. This year Mary Rodriguez, the Curdy Farm landowner, said they pulled three tons of hay per acre.

Rodriguez and her brother Willis Curdy said they could imagine a wide variety of different agricultural uses for the land in the future.

“There will be plenty of uses for this land for centuries to come,” Rodriguez said.

But no subdivisions or development forever.

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