Family Protects Historic Granville County Farm

January 4, 2010

Granville County, NC – Like many other children, Neil (“Dutch”) Kuyper enjoyed playing outdoors. A mutual love of nature is what led Kuyper and his wife Melissa to consider donating a permanent conservation easement on their Granville County farm to the Tar River Land Conservancy.

“I grew up enjoying the outdoors, “Kuyper reminisced. “I ran through fields, climbed trees, skinned my knees, dusted myself off and did it all over again.” Now with the help of the local land trust, Kuyper and his wife have permanently protected over 90 acres around the historic Eldon B. Tunstall House near Bullock.  The house and outbuildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Kuypers purchased the farm from John and Ann Penny, formerly of Oxford, in the summer of 2008.

The conservation easement donated by the Kuypers and held by Tar River Land Conservancy now provides permanent protection for approximately 70 acres of hardwood and pine timber, a two-acre pond and over 18 acres of open land. The protected area borders both Beaver Creek and Kerr Lake. A grant from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund helped make the project possible. “This home and the surrounding land have some history to it. We wanted to preserve the pasture and woods not only because they are beautiful, but we also wanted to do our part to protect local water resources for future generations,” Kuyper added.

According to Tar River Land Conservancy officials, 90% of the acreage protected with the easement is classified by the United States Department of Agriculture as prime farmland. “Prime farmland is essential to producing food and fiber,” explains Derek Halberg, Executive Director for the conservancy. “We’re interested in keeping prime soils viable for future agricultural and timber production. You can’t farm it if it’s been paved over or built on,” he adds.

Tar River Land Conservancy now protects over 16,000 acres across eight counties, including 5,500 acres in Granville County alone. “We are proud of what we have achieved in Granville County,” says Halberg. “But we can’t do this work alone. It takes dedicated landowners like the Kuypers, and strong donor support to make meaningful conservation like this a reality.”