Gift of farmland creates collaboration to establish teaching farm

By April 29, 2015Agriculture
Pictured, from left, are Jason Gardner, easement program manager, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Themika Sims, Alabama Extension coordinator for Jackson County; Steve Musser, assistant state conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Gary Lemme, director, Alabama Extension; Steve Northcutt, director of protection, Nature Conservancy; Noah Bowling, Graham Farms on-site manager; Jane DiFolco Parker, Auburn University Foundation president and Auburn University vice president for development; and Donna Sands, Jackson County Extension agent.

Pictured, from left, are Jason Gardner, easement program manager, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Themika Sims, Alabama Extension coordinator for Jackson County; Steve Musser, assistant state conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Gary Lemme, director, Alabama Extension; Steve Northcutt, director of protection, Nature Conservancy; Noah Bowling, Graham Farms on-site manager; Jane DiFolco Parker, Auburn University Foundation president and Auburn University vice president for development; and Donna Sands, Jackson County Extension agent.

A donation of farmland from the Graham family to the Auburn University Real Estate Foundation, Inc. will establish a teaching farm to benefit Auburn University and Alabama A&M students. The 491-acre farm is in Jackson County next to Paint Rock River. A signing ceremony April 29 established a 265-acre conservation easement that will protect open space and safeguard agricultural production in perpetuity. The gift represents a collaboration of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Alabama, the Nature Conservancy, the Auburn University Real Estate Foundation and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.