Pitstick land purchased for agricultural use
- Published: May 3, 2012
The 100 acres of farmland just north of the Center for Business and Education sold last month to the area farmers who had been farming it. The property was sold to CF Land Holdings, a farming operation owned by Jim Clem and sons, who own and manage farms in Greene, Clark and Madison counties. While the local farm does not have a conservation easement on it, its use for agricultural purposes is likely to remain stable for now.
Clem, who joined the Tecumseh Land Trust board of trustees last year, “is one of those people who thinks farming can continue around here for a long, long time,” TLT executive director Krista Magaw said in an interview last week. Clem could not be reached by phone this week.
The property, formerly the farm of Roger and Peggy Pitstick, straddles East Enon Road with about 70 acres on the west side and 30 acres on the east side. The land is located in Miami Township and borders the village to the east and to the south with the CBE, which was slated to be the village’s industrial park. Between 2005 and 2007, development pressure from the CBE precipitated several incidents of near development of the 39-acre Fogg farm across Dayton-Yellow Springs Road into first a mixed-use office and residential plat and later a residential development with as many as 210 housing units. Following a surge of opposition to developing the Fogg farm, in 2007 the property was purchased by an anonymous buyer to stop its annexation into the village. And while Village Council has established a policy not to expand beyond its current borders, the pressure of potential development on the other properties that border the CBE remains.
Jack Koogler, who with his two brothers owns a farm directly west of the CBE, doesn’t have a conservation easement on his property either. But the Koogler family has owned the 120 acres their grandfather purchased since the 1950s, and they would like it to remain farmland, Koogler said last week. The property has always been farmed by Jim Fulton and sons, who grow corn, soy beans and wheat on a 50/50 split, a common arrangement in which the land owner and the farmer share both the costs and the profits equally. While Koogler himself will earn just $25,000 in a good year from the Yellow Springs farm, the profits are currently worth more than selling the land, he said. And because he grew up on a farm in Beavercreek, where he still lives, and farmed the property into the 1960s, he values that land use.
“I think farming is a good occupation — they’ve got to be pretty dedicated because it’s a lot of work, a lot of dedication and a lot of time you’re going to spend out there,” he said. “We like having the land farmed — we’re a bunch of country hayseeds.”
Other properties bordering the village in the immediate area are also dedicated to farming, some in perpetuity. The 100-acre Stockwell farm on the corner of Fairfield Pike and East Enon has a conservation easement held by Tecumseh Land Trust. And the 210-acre Fulton farm, also on that corner, is also protected by an easement, purchased last fall with the help of $168,000 in Village Green Space funds, as well as 1% for Green Space funds and federal funding. The easement completes a 1,372-acre contiguous block of protected land from west of Enon all the way east through Whitehall farm, a goal that was a “very high priority” for the Miami Township Trustees, who supported the easement purchase.
Tecumseh Land Trust has been working to help both the Township trustees and the Village toward their goals of promoting blocks of farmland, in addition to Village Council’s goals to maintain the southern buffer formed by the Glen and John Bryan park as well as to complete the Jacoby Greenbelt.
The Pitstick property fits right into the block of farms on the west side of the village, and Magaw for one is satisfied that it will continue to be farmed by the Clem family, who also farms Whitehall farm, where the TLT office is located. Though the Pitstick family did not return phone calls this week, Magaw speculated that property owners often choose to sell to farmers they know will manage the land as it had been.
“A lot of landowners will sell to someone they know will be a good steward of the land rather than having the land go to auction,” she said. “It’s nice to see farmers get access to good land.”