LCHIP grant to help preserve Pletcher Farm in Warner

  • Inside a vegetable greenhouse at the Pletcher Farm in Warner. Pletcher Farm

  • The Pletcher Farm, a.k.a. Vegetable Ranch, stand at the Concord Farmers Market in June.

Monitor staff
Published: 11/27/2020 2:55:27 PM

The Pletcher Farm in Warner, better known to many area customers as the Vegetable Ranch, has received a $213,000 grant and is very close to being protected with a conservation easement.

The matching grant is among 32 awarded this year by the LCHIP program, which supports environmental conservation and historical preservation.

The Five Rivers Conservation Trust is overseeing the easement, which covers 118 acres, and which still needs some financial help.

“Larry Pletcher gave us a generous discount on the cost of the conservation easement. We have now secured enough grants to cover all but $20,000,” said Beth McGuinn, director of the Concord-based group.

Easements are legal documents that limit future uses of a property and which remain with the property even if it changes hands. They are a common tool for conservation since they allow a landowner to get more money out of the land without having to sell it to a developer.

This easement would allow agriculture use and commercial forestry and the construction of barns and farming buildings but prevent subdivision or any kind of residential or commercial development. It would cover virtually all of the farm except for two acres, which could be used for a house lot in the future, McGuinn said.

Five Rivers has similar easements or outright ownership on 59 properties throughout greater Concord located in 17 communities on the Contoocook River and two of its tributaries, a portion of the Merrimack River and also the Suncook River.

“Larry Pletcher is looking to retire in the future, and was conscientious about wanting it passed on to a farmer set on continuing,” she said. “He has worked hard for decades, made sure the soil is built up, to keep the farm healthy.”

A number of other contributions, including money from the state’s Moose Plate program and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, would be part of the purchase price.

LCHIP gets its money from fees charged to file four types of documents at the state’s county registry offices.

The LCHIP grant was among $4.1 million worth of matching grants announced by the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, which covers 11 natural resource conservation projects and 21 historic resource projects. LCHIP said it received the most requests for funds in its 20-year history.

Grants in the Concord area include:

■Webster Meeting House preservation work:  $38,100.

■ Canterbury Shaker Village planning study: $23,000.

■ Gale School, Belmont, planning: $21,000.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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