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DEM, Partners Preserve Over 200 Acres of Farmland in Coventry

Historic Broadwall Farm Now Permanently Protected for Agriculture

PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, announce the purchase of historic Broadwall Farm in Coventry. The 224-acre property - one of the last large, unprotected farms in the state - is now permanently preserved for agriculture and environmental conservation. Since 1985, 105 farms spanning 7,174 acres have been permanently protected by DEM and its partners.

"It is such a thrill to preserve a beautiful working farm like historic Broadwall," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Rhode Island's farms and iconic landscapes create a sense of place unique to us. They are an important part of our history, and future. I applaud all partners involved in this effort to protect valuable farmland and habitat from development in perpetuity. The preservation of Broadwall would not be possible without the vision and trust of the owner, Meg Ferguson, and our partner, The Nature Conservancy. What an incredible example of how we can work together to forge a stronger, greener, healthier Rhode Island for generations to come."

Located on Sisson Road in western Coventry, Broadwall Farm is enclosed by an impressive network of widestone walls, which provide the farm's namesake. The historic farmstead includes an 18th century farmhouse and a beef heifer operation as well as pasture, forestland, wetlands, and small streams. The property abuts 223-acre Griffith Farm. Broadwall's frontage on Waterman Pond is partially protected by a 24-acre refuge owned by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. Together these properties represent a large swath of protected farmland, forest and habitat.

"The protection of Broadwall Farm is a tremendous win for conservation and for the preservation of Rhode Island's traditional working lands," said Scott Comings, Interim State Director of The Nature Conservancy. "The farm's scenic vistas and wildlife values are irreplaceable. We're very grateful to Ms. Ferguson and to our partners at DEM and The Champlin Foundations, whose support made it possible to protect this special place."

The $660,000 purchase was made possible through state bond funds administered by the Agricultural Lands Preservation Commission - and The Nature Conservancy who provided $284,788 in grant funding through the Champlin Foundations. DEM and its partners continue to work across many fronts to promote local agriculture. The state's green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. And local agriculture continues to be an area ripe for growth - with the number of farms in Rhode Island on the rise and a growing young farmer network.

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  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
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  • Release date: 12-19-2016

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