Final Open Space Bond Funds Allocated to Two GVLT Conservation Projects

This week GVLT received level 1 funding approval from the Gallatin County Open Space Board to support two new conservation projects that protect some of the best farmland in the county from development. The Kamps and Flikkema projects conserve open space and large, contiguous blocks of agricultural land in the Amsterdam-Churchill area.

The LF Dairy Farm, owned by the Flikkema family, will conserve 588 acres of prime agricultural land within one mile of the West Gallatin River.  The Flikkemas have been farming in the Gallatin Valley since the mid-1900’s. The farm has been run as a dairy for over 60 years and currently has 300 dairy cows in production. The farm fields which comprise the majority of the property consist of irrigated cropland with rotations of alfalfa, corn, barley and potatoes. The LF Dairy Farm has 100% prime and important soils as designated by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as well as numerous wildlife and bird species.

The Kamps Seed Farm property, owned by the Kamps family, will protect 488 acres from development and ensure that the land remains in agricultural production. The Kamps family has been working this land since the early 1900’s and the land has remained in continuous agricultural production since it was homesteaded in the late 1800’s. The three parcels consist of irrigated potato fields, and hay and cropland (barley and wheat). The properties, much like others in the area, have incredibly productive soil, designated as 100% significant and important soils by the NRCS.

With both the Flikkema and Kamps conservation easements, 90% of the value of each conservation project will be matched through donated land value and matching funds secured by GVLT through federal funding sources. The remaining funds will come from the Gallatin County Open Space Bond as approved by the Open Space Board this week. Protecting properties with productive soils like these ensure the viability of agriculture in the Gallatin Valley. Both properties are highly developable with their proximity to Belgrade and are near many conserved properties, adding to a large concentration of protected agricultural land in the area. The agricultural future of this area is not only important to the Amsterdam-Churchill communities but also to Gallatin Valley residents who appreciate scenic views of open space and the agricultural heritage and culture of this place. These conservation easements were funded in addition to a conservation easement with the Montana Land Reliance, allocating the remainder  of the Gallatin County Open Space Bond funding. The Gallatin County Open Space Bond has conserved nearly 50 conservation projects covering nearly 15,000 acres since its inception.