The historic Ward Farm, aka the Wheeler Farm, has been in agriculture for 157 years. In 1957 it was purchased by the late Don Wheeler and for the past 12 years his descendants have leased the 60 acres on the Dungeness River to Nash’s Organic Produce.
The Wheelers have always wanted to preserve the property for agriculture, but could not afford to donate the land. This year, with the help of the North Olympic Land Trust, the family is working on a conservation agreement to remove the development rights and save the land for agriculture in perpetuity. The photo on the right shows the view facing south from the farm.
The Land Trust has applied for grants, both state and federal, for the funds to pay the Wheeler family. They received a state grant for $344,000 last year, but more is needed and the local community also needs to support these efforts. Nash and the farm team can attest that the soil and water are prime for organic farming.
The Land Trust is holding its annual Harvest Dinner in the hopes of raising additional funds to save this beautiful, productive, and historic farm. Details are on northolympiclandtrust.org.
Since its inception in 1990, the Land Trust has protected over 450 acres of local farmland. Since 1950, Clallam County has lost over 70% of its farmland to development at an average of 1,110 acres per year. The good folks at the Land Trust have definitely been working against difficult odds, but this year, they hope to add 220 more prime agricultural acres to the “saved” column, including the historic Ward Farm!