B 3 Conserved Farms: 1,567 acres of protected farmland near Amsterdam-Churchill

June 28, 2024

GVLT has partnered with the Braaksma family to conserve 1,567 acres of productive farmland southwest of Amsterdam, just west of Four Corners. The new conservation easement, an agreement that ensures the Braaksmas' B 3 Farms property will forever remain open and available for farming, is not the first easement established by the family. Previously, the Braaksmas partnered with GVLT in 2016 to conserve 720 acres of prime farmland above the Camp Creek watershed.

The Braaksma family has been an active member of the Gallatin Valley farming community since 1894. Today, the B 3 Farms operation, run by the fourth and fifth generations, includes both a dryland farm where they grow barley, wheat and peas, and an irrigated farm where they grow alfalfa, corn, wheat and barley. B 3 Farms also offers custom feeds for ranchers who do not have winter pastures.

This new conservation easement allows the family to continue to pass on their agricultural heritage.

“We want to keep this space open so our family can continue to farm the land from generation to generation,” says Darren Braaksma. “It’s a great lifestyle. You get a lot of time to spend with your family. I want my kids to have the same opportunities I had and learn how to farm.”

Amsterdam-Churchill is one of GVLT’s priority conservation areas because of its soil quality, which has been identified as some of the best in the state by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to its productive soils, the Braaksma property also provides year-round habitat for upland birds, deer, small mammals and raptors. The stunning panoramic views of B 3 Farms can be enjoyed from Camp Creek Road and Amsterdam Road, as well as the west side of Belgrade.

“As the valley grows, it’s important to preserve open land,” Darren says. “We already have one protected open space on our property and now we have another.”

Within a five-mile radius of the Braaksma property, there are 20 additional easements, totaling more than 8,500 acres of protected open space.

“We are extremely grateful for the Braaksma’s continued dedication to open land conservation,” says Crystal Beckman, GVLT Conservation Program Manager. “This growing network of protected lands in the Amsterdam-Churchill region helps preserve the agricultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes unique to Gallatin County and southwest Montana. »

This project would not be possible without the commitment of the Braaksma family, who invested a lot of time and energy in the process and donated significant real estate value. This donation and funding from the Gallatin Valley Open Lands Program was matched with NRCS funds. Gallatin Valley voters renewed funding for the local Open Lands program in 2018.

The B 3 Farms project represents GVLT’s 129th conservation easement. Since 1990, GVLT has partnered with families to forever protect more than 67,000 acres of some of the most productive, scenic and wildlife-rich lands in southwest Montana.

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