Preserving The Lindale Farm

The Lindley family has operated their 182-acre dairy farm in Chatham County since the late 1800s.

Neill Lindley, the fifth generation of farmers in the family, still owns and runs the farm today. Lindley took over his family’s farm with his wife Cori in 1982 after graduating from NC State University. In 2009, along with help from his father Darryle and son Neill Jr., the Lindleys began to transition away from traditional practices, making their farm organic and sustainable.

Part of that process involved signing their land into a conservation easement with the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC). The easement allows the Lindleys to continue farming, and it protects their land from future development.

“We definitely try to work with landowners that use sustainable practices,” said Leigh Ann Hammerbacher, the associate director of conservation and stewardship at TLC.

TLC holds conservation easements on nearly 700 acres of farmland in the Silk Hope area of Chatham County. The American Farmland Trust estimates that 40 acres of the nation’s farmland is lost to development every hour. In Durham, Orange and Wake counties, on average one of every five acres of farmland has been lost to development over the past 20 years. These easements play an important role in protecting farmland from that development, and they are also important in helping provide farmers with much-needed funding.

Hammerbacher said the Lindley family invested the funding they received back into the Lindale Farm, aiding in the transition to more sustainable practices. Now that the farm is fully organic, she said the Lindleys are doing very well.

“This farm is one of the most successful farms in the area,” said Hammerbacher. “And they definitely believe that switching to the organic market, particularly in the dairy industry, has brought them more stability.”

The Lindale Farm is a part of Organic Valley, the nation’s largest organic farmer cooperative. Farmers sell their products locally in all 50 states, and even export to 25 countries worldwide.

Read more stories from the 2017 Conservation Yearbook here.

Conservation is Crucial to Attracting the Best and the Brightest

Red Hat is an international leader when it comes to enterprise open source software. That means the company must attract highly educated, young professionals who are in big demand. To stay on top, Red Hat must appeal to those men and women. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst says the quality of life found in the community is an important part of that appeal.

“Our biggest competition isn’t for our customers, it’s for the best talent,” he explains. “The best and brightest have their choice of where to work – both companies and locations. More and more, we are finding that quality of life is a major determinant of where top talent chooses to live and work. I am constantly asked by people we are recruiting about the recreational opportunities in North Carolina.”

That’s why Whitehurst, who sits on the Board of Directors for The Conservation Fund, supports public funding for land and water conservation. “NC is situated in a great area that spans mountains to beaches, but we need to ensure that some of those areas are preserved and accessible for recreational use,” he says.

Even though he works in a high-tech business, Whitehurst says getting out in nature is important for everyone’s wellbeing. “I live and work in the hectic high tech world. It is exciting and fast-paced, but also exhausting. My kids live a similar world – with iPads at school and video games at home,” he explains.  “Some of our best quality family time is when we are able to get away from it all. Being in nature allows our family to build deeper bonds. It gives us time to reflect, but also be together without the myriad distractions of our normal everyday lives.”

His love of nature began with his grandfathers and parents fishing and hiking as a family.  “I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do this with my kids. Going forward, I want to make sure that I can do the same with my grandchildren,” he concludes. “And I want to make sure that others who may not have the same capacity to ’hop on a plane’ also have those opportunities nearby where they live.”

Read more stories from the 2017 Conservation Yearbook here.

Post date: April 1, 2017