Rob and Alice Schenck donated a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust on 140 acres of farmland and forestland near Groton State Forest. They then sold the property to newlyweds Dylan and Brittany Kempton of Kempton Farms, the sole supplier of milk for Cabot’s award-winning clothbound cheddar aged in the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The Kemptons have leased the southern-sloping fields of the property for decades and will continue to use the land to grow corn for their dairy.
The Schencks bought the land in 1987. “We always enjoyed the views, the quiet, the sight occasionally of a family of wild turkeys, and just the great beauty of the land,” said Rob. Thirty years after buying the property, the Schencks began to think about next steps. They wanted to make sure the land would be farmed by the next generation of Kemptons and that the forest would be responsibly managed, so they reached out to Vermont Land Trust about conservation.
“Over the years, ownership of the property brought us a lot of joy and satisfaction,” said Rob. “We feel strongly that this conservation easement with the Vermont Land Trust will provide for protection against development and will ensure that the same sentiments we have enjoyed will be passed on to future generations in perpetuity.”
“The Kemptons are a well-respected farming family in the Peacham area,” said Bob Linck of the Vermont Land Trust. “Thanks to the generosity of the Schencks, a young couple with strong connections to the local community are the new owners and stewards of this important piece of land.”
Dylan Kempton is the grandson of the dairy’s founder, George Kempton, and works on the farm full-time. Brittany is from nearby Monroe, New Hampshire, where she teaches third-grade in addition to doing farm chores at weekends and in the summer. The two met in St. Johnsbury, recently wed, and now live in the original Kempton family home where Dylan grew up, 500 yards from the property line of their new land. Reflecting on the five-day period in which they got married and bought a farm, Brittany and Dylan both exclaimed, “It was quite a week!”
In their spare time, Dylan and Brittany enjoy walking the land. “There’re lots of places to go, and great views,” said Brittany. They are grateful it will not be developed. They plan to continue to use the land as it has been for decades, growing corn and managing the pasture and forestland.
Nestled between two ponds, the high-elevation property can be viewed from a section of the Devil’s Hill trail in the state forest. In addition to excellent cropland and woods, there are forested wetlands. The conservation of the land ensures water quality and habitat protection in these wetland areas. The property is near or abuts five other properties conserved with the Vermont Land Trust, and is considered part of an important stretch of connected habitat.
The Vermont Land Trust is a statewide, member-supported, nonprofit land conservation organization. Since 1977, the Vermont Land Trust has protected nearly 2,000 parcels of land covering more than 593,000 acres, or 10 percent of the state. This includes more than 900 working farms and farmland parcels, hundreds of thousands of acres of productive forestland, and numerous parcels of community lands. This conservation work changes the lives of families, invigorates farms, launches new businesses, maintains scenic vistas, encourages recreational opportunity, and fosters a renewed sense of community. For more information or to become a member, visit www.vlt.org.