Larry only has 9 tractors left. Slowly, he has been parting with the machinery that has served him well over his lifetime of farming, but he just doesn’t need it anymore. Since his early days as a boy helping his father, Larry has been a farmer. “I have never done a thing other than working on the farm,” reflected Larry, “I never thought I would quit… but, I just cannot do it anymore.”
Today, “it is with a tear in his eye,” according to his friend Bonnie that he is watching a young farmer take on the responsibilities of the farm. It is what he wanted – the farm to stay a farm and never have houses developed on it. A year after conserving his farm with Genesee Land Trust with a permanent agricultural conservation easement, Larry sold the farm to Adam Craft. Part of their agreement allows Larry to stay on in his home of 72 years and use a couple of the old barns for his tractors.
“Young lads will want to do new things,” Larry’s mother said once, and now it is his turn to watch the young generation take over.
Adam is from a Wayne County farming family and he too always knew he wanted to be a farmer. “You don’t get up in the morning to do what I do without liking it,” says Adam. He farms about 1,500 acres of corn, soy beans and other crops around Walworth, Ontario, Williamson and Sodus on leased land.
About the time Adam started looking for a home with a farm to be the center of his operation, Larry was working out how to keep his farm a farm and make it affordable for a young farmer. A couple of years ago, Adam rented half of the farm, then last year the whole farm. “It is an excellent farm, in a good location,” according to Adam. And he has plans.
When asked how the conservation easement effects him, Adam replies, “You can use it as your own, nothing holding you back from farming it as you would like,” and the farmstead area allows him to expand his business with new barns and infrastructure. That might take a few years.
Just recently, Adam bought 25 cattle. Larry likes to visit them from time to time in the big barn, but he is finding that he now has time to go places after all of his years of farming.
Larry grew up on the farm with 7 brothers and sisters, “None of the others liked farming, but I did. So I stayed and loved it.” Finding a young farmer to take over makes him very happy. “This was about the only way to make sure the land would go from farmer to farmer.”