Kamps Seed Farm Conserved: 494 acres of agricultural open space protected west of Gallatin River
GVLT has partnered with the Kamps family to conserve their nearly 500-acre family farm in the heart of the Gallatin Valley near Churchill, Montana. Conservation easements were placed on the property ensuring that the beautiful and productive land will remain open and available for agriculture in perpetuity. The Kamps family has successfully farmed the property for generations, and their goal is to keep it that way.
“We have been blessed with some of the most productive land in Gallatin County and we want to keep it in agriculture and be able to keep producing food from it,” says Sid Kamps. “In the last 25 years or so we have seen so many developments starting in the valley and they keep getting closer to our land. We want to preserve this land for future generations and be able to operate it as a family farm.” The Kamps have been farming the land since the early 1900’s. Multiple generations of the Kamps family farm the ground today, rotating seed potatoes, grain and hay. They are part of the strong Montana seed potato industry, ranking 4th in the nation for production.
The Kamps farm is situated on some of the very best soil in the region, yet it is only 3 miles from the rapidly developing community of Belgrade. Although it is close to development, the Kamps farm is not an isolated piece of farm ground. In fact, the Kamps farm is surrounded by other farming operations and it adds to a 6,500-acre block of conserved farmland that can never be developed. Preserving farmland in large blocks helps to ensure a stable land base for agricultural operations and reduces conflict between farming and development, such as having to drive a tractor across busy roads at rush hour. We have worked with 15 different landowners in the Amsterdam and Churchill communities to help conserve these lands.
This project would not have been possible without the unwavering commitment of the Kamps family, who not only invested significant time and energy in the process, but also donated a substantial amount of property value to ensure their farm would remain open in perpetuity.
Other essential project partners were the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Gallatin County Open Lands program, each of which provided significant funding to help purchase the conservation easement. Both of these highly successful programs have played a critical role in protecting nearly 50,000 acres in Gallatin County. This is the second GVLT project to utilize renewed funding for the Gallatin County Open Lands Program which received approval from voters in June of 2018.
This project also marks the successful completion of GVLT’s special funding award received through the NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In 2015, GVLT and 17 partner groups were awarded $3.8 million through RCPP to complete conservation easements and land stewardship projects on agricultural properties in the Gallatin Valley. With the completion of the Kamps easements, the RCPP funds have been entirely allocated to projects. Over the 5-year duration of RCPP, 21 conservation easements were completed in Gallatin Valley totaling nearly 8,000 acres and representing over $24 million in conservation value. We have applied to renew the RCPP award and hope to build on the success of the program.