Efforts to preserve farmland in the Piedmont

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- For a lot of us, north High Point is known for busy streets and new neighborhoods that seem to pop up overnight. But Harriet Mattes remembers when life was a lot slower.

"We were in the county, we were way out in the country," Mattes said.

Instead of new homes and traffic, you were more likely to see a cow.

"We had as many as 300 at time," Mattes said. "But we were not milking that many."

Lindale Dairy Farm was well known in High Point. The cows are now gone. But Mattes is following her mother's wishes by keeping this corner of High Point rural.

"Her expression was not, 'I am responsible for the property,' but, 'I am responsible to the property.'" Mattes said.

That's why Mattes refuses to give in to developers. Even though the farm is now surrounded by the conveniences of Interstate 74 and Deep River Road.

"A lot of people have wanted to either build a place for themselves or wanted to develop the property," Mattes said.

There's also another reason why the over 100-acre plot will not be developed. A conservation easement placed on the property by the Piedmont Land Conservancy.

"We got to have an abundance of land. The Piedmont is growing so fast," Piedmont Land Conservancy Executive Director Kevin Redding said. "Got to keep agriculture for wildlife, clean water, clean air, we need these farms."

The state agrees. The Piedmont Land Conservancy will use about $400,000 from the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to place a conservation easement on 200 acres of land in Randolph County.

"One of the biggest threats to farming in North Carolina is the loss of farmland," Redding said. "If we don't protect land like this we will lose farming."

If you think your farm qualifies for a conservation easement, contact the Piedmont Land Conservancy at piedmontland.org.