Blue Vista Farm development rights procured
The Daily Press
Last Updated: Monday, December 22nd, 2003 10:09:05 AM

BAYFIELD — On December 16, the Town of Bayfield purchased the development rights on Blue Vista Farm. Blue Vista Farm, perched above Lake Superior overlooking Chequamegon Bay, grows apples, blueberries, raspberries, fresh cut and dried flowers. The Blue Vista Farm barn has been on the cover of Wisconsin Trails magazine and featured in the National Barns Calendar and the Lake Superior calendar.

“Blue Vista Farm is a gateway to the orchard region in the Bayfield Peninsula” said Ruth Oppedahl who administers the Farmland Preservation Program for the Town of Bayfield. “Seasonal visitors are drawn to this region to sail and kayak the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and for the beauty of the orchards and rural landscape. The apples, berries, perennial plants, honey and jams from Bayfield are distributed throughout the upper midwest and pick-your-own operations form the base of the local economy. This small town of just 674 residents in northern Wisconsin has taken a bold stand to preserve the farmland and orchards which form the backbone of their economy.”

Blue Vista Farm is the second farm to sell development rights to the Town of Bayfield. In 2000, the Town developed the Farmland Preservation Program in response to a community survey and Land Use Plan which called for preserving productive agricultural land to maintain economic activity and way of life. After two years of research, the Town initiated the purchase of development rights (PDR) program in January of 2003. In a PDR transaction, the landowner sells the development rights, but retains title and all other rights to the land which is permanently restricted for agriculture or open space use. Over 1.8 millions acres of prime and unique farmland has been permanently protected through PDR programs around the country in the last twenty-five years. *

Funds for the purchase of development rights were provided by the Town of Bayfield and the USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Services Farm and Ranch Protection Program. Blue Vista Farm owners, Eric, Keith and Laura Carlson also donated $9,025 to the transaction. The conservation easement permanently restricting the land is co-held by the Town of Bayfield and the Bayfield Regional Conservancy, a local non-profit land trust. The City of Bayfield has contributed $5,000 to the Town of Bayfield’s Farmland Preservation Program.

A total of eighty-three acres of unique agricultural land have been permanently protected in the first year of the program. In November, development rights were purchased on Highland Valley Farm, the largest blueberry producer in the western Lake Superior region.

For more information contact: Ruth Oppedahl, Bayfield Regional Conservancy, 715-779-LAND (5263)
* According to the American Farmland Trust and the Agricultural Issues Center of the University of California, Davis. See the complete report.