Jefferson County Welcomes 57th and 58th Farms
to the Farmland Protection Program

On January 24, 2023 the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board completed conservation easements on Aspen Pool Farm and Cedar Cottage Farm, adding 303 acres to the county’s protected lands, bringing the total to 6,846 acres on 58 farms. The owners of the two farms voluntarily established the conservation easements on their property that maintain working lands, natural habitat and historic and rural open space in perpetuity.

The owners of the 150-acre Aspen Pool Farm received $486,234 from the Farmland Protection Board and $486,234 from the Department of Interior’s American Battlefield Protection Program for permanently retiring their development rights and donated $335,514 of the conservation value of their land.

Charles F. Printz Jr., owner of Aspen Pool Farm, remarked, “Our family is grateful that the protection of this beautiful farm, a process started by [my father] C. F. Printz, is now complete. Equally important, this is productive farmland – a diminishing county asset. Only the commitment to conserve land for future generations will honor the County’s past and sustain our vigilance for its future.”

Bordered by Trough and Engle Moler Roads in Shepherdstown, the newly protected 1and straddles Trough Road and abuts a protected farm on its eastern border. The majority of the property is open hayland and cropland that is actively farmed.

A portion of the property lies within the Battle of Antietam Study Area. The Battle of Antietam, known as the bloodiest day in American history, took place north and east of Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862. A. P. Hill from Harper’s Ferry took the road to reinforce the Confederate right flank, a key moment in the battle.

Aspen Pool Farm is significant for the Battle of Shepherdstown on September 19, 1862, as it was at this location that Confederate troops prepared for battle, and from which they launched the attack which drove back the Federal troops advancing south from the Potomac River. This rearguard battle discouraged Federal pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s defeated army back to Virginia and ended Lee’s Maryland Campaign. The corner of Engle Molers Road and Trough Road is marked by a Civil War Marker (#4), a stone obelisk installed by Confederate Veterans in 1910.

Administered by the National Park Service, the ABPP Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant aids in the permanent protection of hallowed battlefield land. The successful program also administers grant programs in Preservation Planning, Battlefield Interpretation and Battlefield Restoration.

Located on Childs Road and Kearneysville Pike in Kearneysville, Mrs. Gloria Willis’ 153-acre Cedar Cottage Farm borders the Henshaw Farm in Middleway, which joined the Farmland Protection Program in 2011. Together the properties create a 226-acre block of protected farmland. Ms. Willis remarked, “I am very pleased to finally get my farm protected. Ten years ago, after my husband Gary passed, I starting noticing buildings with vinyl siding being thrown up everywhere with air guns. They are already falling apart. That beautiful land they put the houses on is destroyed, forever. There’s only so much land. They can’t make more, and if you don’t take care of it, it will be gone. My farm will continue producing grain crops as it has for many years. I may be gone tomorrow, but I am grateful to know my farm will stay a farm.” Mrs. Willis received $750,000 from the Farmland Protection Board for permanently retiring the development rights on her farm and donated $490,000 of the conservation value of the property.

Currently, the Board is working to complete conservation easements on five farms totaling 574 acres. Another two farms with a total of 277 acres are in the application process for matching funds.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization which landowners can use to retire development rights permanently on all or part of their land to protect its natural, agricultural, scenic and historic values. Landowners in turn receive funds for the development value of their land and retain full use and ownership of the land. Because an easement is perpetual, it is transferred with the property when it is sold or inherited, thereby protecting it forever.

Jefferson County’s commitment to farmland protection is reflected in the Jefferson County WV Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which states, “One goal of this Plan is to maintain productive farmland soils and the rural character and economy of the County by reducing the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural based uses.”

About the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board

The Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board was established in 2000 under state law (WV Code §8A-12 et seq.) that allows West Virginia counties to use a portion of the transfer tax on real estate to purchase development rights from landowners who wish to protect their land for agricultural purposes in perpetuity.

The Board partners with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, the American Battlefield Protection Program, the West Virginia Agricultural Land Protection Authority and other organizations that provide matching funds. “We also accept donations of all or part of easement sales,” said Program Director Elizabeth Wheeler, “Landowners may find a donation can allow a reduction in Federal income tax. The Board welcomes applications at any time but selects properties in November of each year for federal matching funds.”

For more information about the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board, contact the Board at: 304/724-1414 or