Ferolbink Farm FRPP
NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) Protects 150 Acre Ferolbink Farm From Development
Ferolbink Farm is a 150 acre family owned farm located on the shores of the Sakonnet River and Fogland Marsh that that has been working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Eastern Conservation District for approximately 50 years. Over the years, the farm has been under considerable developmental pressures. Fortunately, Jason "Pete" Peckham, owner of Ferolbink Farms, worked with several conservation groups including the Tiverton Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy to assess options to protect the land. It was a rather complicated land deal which reached fruition where 150 acres of Ferolbink Farm will be protected from development. NRCS funding was provided through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).
USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan visited Rhode Island on Friday, September 10, 2010 to celebrate the preservation of the farm where she spoke to a crowd of approximately 100 attendees. There were several collaborators in the $4 million deal including the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service ($1,900,000), RI Department of Environmental Management-Rhode Island Agricultural Lands Preservation Commission ($1,116,500), Little Compton Agricultural Conservancy Trust (80,000), The Nature Conservancy and Champlin Foundations ($773,500), and the Tiverton Land Trust ($110,000). There were also over 100 private donors who contributed to the land preservation deal.
"Pete" Peckham has farmed the land all his life where his family has owned the farm since the 1940s. The farm is named after his mother, whose first name was "Ferol", and his father, whose nickname was "Bink". The farm is a spectacular and valuable piece of property due to its distinguished ecological features. It is considered prime farm land with some of the richest soil (i.e., Newport Soil) in the State due to its carbon-rich attributes and water holding capacity. Other ecological attributes include its salt marshes and habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl, and fish. In fact, the marsh located on the farm is one of the prime motivators for protecting the land where salt water flows into the tidal estuary, a place where ocean water mixes with fresh water, creating a habitat for a great wealth of life from algae to marsh birds. Near the marsh is a coastal buffer and maritime scrub land. The habitat harbors migratory songbirds and their nesting grounds, herring, and shellfish.
The farm is one of six potato farms in Rhode Island where in addition to being one of the largest potato farms in the State, Ferolbink Farm is also one of the largest growers of squash. It sells potatoes to Frito Lay. In addition, he belongs to a cooperative of East Bay area farmers who market Narragansett Premium Potatoes which are sold directly to independent supermarkets. The farm also sells its crops to local school and farmers markets. It should be noted that the cooperative is part of a resurgence in agriculture which is thriving in Rhode Island where the number of Rhode Island farms is approximately 1,200 as of 2007, an increase of 42 percent since 2002 when there were 858 farms according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.