The Associated Press

State Shields Western Mass. Farms From Development

EGREMONT, Mass. — The state has bought development rights to Berkshire County farmland, setting aside 445 acres.

The Berkshire Eagle reports the deal is valued at $6.7 million.

Baldwin Hill Farm is owned by Richard and Priscilla Burdsall and has been in the family for more than 100 years. Next door, Proctor’s Bel-Air Farm, owned by Charles and Ellen Proctor, has been in the family for 55 years.

The Berkshire Natural Resources Council and Egremont Land Trust contributed 5 percent, or about $360,000. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources provided the remaining funding.

Tad Ames, president of the Berkshire group, said part of the intention is to protect open space, preventing farms from being sold for residential or commercial development.

It’s also to preserve and protect a source of locally grown food.

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