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Success Story

Windmist Farm Protects Agriculture Land in Jamestown, Rhode Island

Farmer Martha Neal standing by a fence in a field.

Windmist Farm is perhaps the most visible of Jamestown, Rhode Island, farms. The town sits on Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay, a steppingstone for tourists on their way to nearby Newport.

About the Property

George and Martha Neale inherited Windmist Farm from George's father in the early 2000s. The Neales raise Belted Galloway beef cattle, goats, sheep, pastured pork, and laying hens. They sell their livestock at farmers markets and wholesale.

Why the Landowner Chose Permanent Protection

Jamestown, Rhode Island, is on a sole source aquifer. The Neale's are concerned about protecting the groundwater. The farm also borders a salt marsh. “We have to be very conscious of where our manure runoff goes,” said Martha.

How the Land was Protected

Windmist Farm hay pastures with salt marsh in the background, Jamestown, RI, June 2023.
Windmist Farm hay pastures with salt marsh in the background, Jamestown, RI, June 2023.

Funding to preserve the 44-acre scenic parcel was provided through a partnership thanks to the efforts of the people of Jamestown, who floated a bond to help with the purchase, the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program - Agricultural Land Easement (ACEP-ALE), the state of Rhode Island, the Champlin Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.

ALE helps private and tribal landowners, land trusts, and other entities such as state and local governments protect croplands and grasslands on working farms and ranches by limiting nonagricultural uses of the land through conservation easements.

What was Accomplished


Windmist Farm has implemented conservation practices including a riparian buffer to protect a salt marsh, a rotational grazing system for livestock, reduced tillage, split nitrogen applications, and pollinator habitat seeding. They have extended their growing season with a high tunnel and plan to install a second one.

Local arborists often give the Neales free wood chips, which they use for livestock bedding in the wintertime to keep the cows out of the mud. The wood chips are composted to help sequester carbon in the soil. The Neales also have mobile chicken coops that allow the birds to be outside and spread their manure around the field.

“The cows are allowed to live their good cow life, as are the pigs, chickens, and the sheep. To me that's the way we need to eat,” said Martha. “I always welcome people to walk around the farm. We're transparent; we're not hiding anything. Come see our animals and how we treat them."

About the Partners

Happy pigs rooting in their pasture at Windmist Farms in Jamestown, RI, June 2023.

State of Rhode Island - The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) is the state agency tasked with managing and regulating activities that occur on and near the coast of Rhode Island.

Champlin Foundation - The foundation works closely with land trusts to conserve open space in the nation's second most densely populated state.

The Nature Conservancy - The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends, and for more than 50 years, they have worked in Rhode Island to do just that.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - NRCS provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground, helping the environment and agricultural operations. 

Additional Information

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