The Smith Farm in Seneca County lies within a large bend of the Sandusky River atop some of the most productive prime soils in Ohio. Canoeists and kayakers enjoy this scenic stretch of the Sandusky that borders the Smith farm more than a mile. Protection of this farmland along the river ensures paddlers can enjoy the natural quality of the river forever.
The Black Swamp Conservancy purchased the development rights from the Smiths for their farm in return for putting a permanent conservation easement on the property. The Farm and Ranchland Protection Program provided part of the funding to protect this farmland.
The Smiths used the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to plant and improve buffer areas along the stretch of river bordering the farm. Conservationists call these buffers “riparian” buffers, and they often include trees. The shade from trees improves fish habitat by keeping the water cooler.
Since 1869 the Smith family has owned and operated this 81-acre farm, making it an Ohio Century Farm. “We are thrilled to partner with the Smith family to preserve this incredibly special place,” said Rob Krain, Conservancy conservation director. “This is one of the best managed farms around. The landowners take great care to protect the watershed.”