The Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program and the USDA Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program supported the Maine Department of Agriculture in purchasing an agricultural easement that will help to keep in active use 24 acres of farm fields and 92 acres of productive timberland. The N.L. Lorio Farm is located along Route 15 near two other protected farms, Ken-Rose and Horsepower Farms. The Route 15 corridor from Orland to Blue Hill contains most of the prime agricultural soil in Hancock County (which represents a mere 2.3 percent of all the county’s soils).
Along the length of this corridor, the agricultural potential and open space values of farmland are threatened with conversion to house sites. Restrictions in the Lorio Farm easement that protect the farm’s prime soils, beautiful vistas and wildlife habitat helped to lower the farm’s property value–enabling a young family to purchase the farm and begin working to restore its productivity.
The N.L. Lorio Farm and the Bowden Farm (which the LMF program also helped protect) are part of a pioneering farmland conservation effort, called Farmland Forever, that may become a model for other regions. Since 1989, the Blue Hill Heritage Trust has helped landowners to protect 10 farms totaling nearly 1,500 acres.
The Farmland Forever program is attracting new farmers to the area, reversing a statewide trend of declining farms and development on prime agricultural soils. The Blue Hill peninsula now has 25-30 active farms, which help to maintain a farming infrastructure that includes a well-attended farmer’s market and a vegetable stand managed by a farmers’ cooperative. Local growers supply produce to many area restaurants.
On private farms protected with Land for Maine’s Future program support, public access is by landowner permission only. Please see the icons to determine allowed uses and follow any guidance posted on the property. For more information on how to obtain landowner permission, contact Stephanie Gilbert at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Downeast Maine – Hancock & Washington
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Map 15, A-4. From the intersection of Routes 15 and 1 in East Orland, the farm is approximately 5 miles south off Route 15.