From Dale Street in North Andover (Ipswich Road in Boxford), the Leonhard Farm presents a quiet pastoral landscape that vividly evokes New England’s deep agricultural roots. Passing
drivers see a bucolic farm first started by one of the town’s founding families, with little changed from colonial days. Though gone now, the stately “Hubbard Elm” was a
local landmark for centuries, shading the 1845 farmhouse and barn that still stand strong today.
For brothers Byron and George Leonhard, it was much more personal. They have been farming the rolling fields and managing the woodlands all their lives, like their ancestors before them. Over
the past 100+ years, each generation of their family introduced new crops, livestock and innovations to sustain a living on the land they love.
Preserve working farm and woodlands
Preserve wildlife habitat
Community Preservation Act Funds
Grassroots Campaign & Private Fundraising
Town Meeting Approval
Forever Preserve Land from Development
Landowners eligible for federal income tax deduction
House lot reserved for future income needs
Capital for farm operation
The brothers’ commitment to the land, and their advancing age, led the Leonhards to respond to Greenbelt’s invitation to attend a Farmland Succession Planning workshop in 2015.
Based on what they learned, and through numerous follow-up conversations with Greenbelt, a plan to permanently protect the farm emerged.
To realize their conservation vision for the farm, the Leonhards generously agreed to a below fair-market value sale of a conservation restriction (CR) on approximately 116 of their 127 acres
in North Andover and Boxford. The CR allows the land to remain privately owned and managed as a working farm and woodland, safeguards critical wildlife habitat, and prevents any future
non-agricultural development. The sale income provided capital to support the farm operation.
Community Support & Local Funding Key
To purchase the CR, Greenbelt sought $325,000 in Community Preservation Act Funds from the Town of North Andover. Boxford’s land trust BTA/BOLT provided $25,000, and Greenbelt conducted
a community fundraising campaign for the balance. Handwritten notes highlighting personal histories with the farm accompanied many contributions from residents. These gifts, along with the
contributions of many others, ensured that this land will be forever preserved as a working farm and forest, including a new public trail for all to enjoy.
I could not bear to look at the property with houses all over it.
~George Leonhard, on why he protected the farm with a conservation restriction