Conservation Easements on the Horizon: Barbara Masterson and Lynn Faurie

June 19, 2023

By Beth Rigby

The History

Barbara Masterson and Lynn Faurie are the owners of B&L 4E Farms in Marlborough. The farm has been in the Faurie family since 1910, originally producing fruit. The first cow was brought onto the farm in the 1940s, marking the transition into a dairy farm. Lynn Faurie grew up milking cows and haying the fields with her father. “He instilled the love in us. We all pitched in after school… When you grow up with it, you either love it or you hate it. And I love it.” The Fauries eventually switched from dairy cows to beef cows, and they continue to produce pasture raised beef, chicken, and pork to this day. In addition, they proudly produce farm fresh eggs, and have been certified organic for over 20 years.

Faurie’s love for the land and livestock is clear in both her work ethic and life outlook. “It’s my passion. I never dread getting out of bed at 10PM to check on the animals or getting up in the morning to work.” Unable to pick a favorite animal, Faurie fondly reminisces about her favorite pigs and beloved cows. She cherishes her memories of haying with her father, loving the smell of the hay and riding in the wagon.

The Property

Barbara Masterson and Lynn Faurie own approximately 320 acres of property in Marlborough and Plattekill, the majority of which is deciduous forest. Oak trees dominate the property; varieties of oak trees on the property include Red, Black, White, and Chestnut. Beech trees, Maple trees, Ash trees and Hemlock trees litter the forest floor as well. Rock ridges carve their way through the woods and sculpt a rather interesting topography. A grand, picturesque lake sits peacefully near the southern boundary of the property. Pockets of freshwater wetlands are also sprinkled throughout the property. The forests have been managed by Anthony (Tony) Del Vescovo since 1985. In 1992 he crafted a stewardship plan for the forest, in which he planned forest thinning through a selective harvest of mature trees, and the removal of high-risk trees. Faurie admits that when she first heard the forest would be logged, she thought that meant the forest would have been clear cut! However, she quickly learned the environmental benefits of forest management, and now reaps the benefits of a well stewarded
forest.

The Community

In addition to their love of farming, Barbara and Lynn share a passion for teaching. They met while teaching in Newburgh, and quickly became friends. In the early 90s, they held a ceremony to declare their commitment in front of 40 of their close friends and family. After the legalization of gay marriage in the 2010s, Barbara and Lynn reinforced their commitment and married. Pride has personal meaning to each individual in the LGBTQIA community. To some, pride is bold expression. To others, pride is peaceful acceptance. When asked what pride means to them, Lynn Faurie replied, “Being able to live our lives as a lesbian couple.” Barbara Masterson adds, “We can be ourselves.” It seems Barbara and Lynn have conquered the ability to express themselves without a fear of judgment. Barbara and Lynn look up to their mentor, and dear friend Virginia “Ginny” Apuzzo. Her accomplishments are well known and incredibly vast. To mention a few, she was Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, vice chair of the NYS AIDS Advisory Council, President of the NYS Civil Service Commission, and Assistant to the President for Management and Administration under the Clinton administration. She is an activist who has dedicated her life to the LGBT community. Lynn met Virginia in 1963, and fondly refers to Ginny as her “oldest friend”. They remain close friends to this day. Barbara and Lynn appreciate their close-knit friend group of queer women who support each other through the unique challenges they face.

The Conservation

To honor her father’s wish, Lynn Faurie decided to place a conservation easement on their 320 acres to preserve the property forever. The land is home to a unique biodiversity worthy of protection. Easing the land ensures the conservation of important forest, field, and aquatic habitats. In addition to preserving wildlife and their habitats, easements help protect agricultural land and important soils. Important soils that will be conserved on this property include Mardin gravelly silt loam, Mardin-Nassau complex, Atherton silt loam, and Castile gravelly silt loam. The protection of local farmland is incredibly important to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. WVLT’s mission is to ensure access to local food, preserve local jobs in agriculture, and protect family businesses. Both WVLT and the Town of Marlborough share an interest in conserving farmland. Marlborough’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan explicitly states an interest in the protection of farmland for town life and the regional economy. The town of Marlborough is also interested in protecting forests over 200 acres for scenic purposes.

Properly conserving a large property is no simple feat. Due to the size and complexity of the property, WVLT decided it was necessary to obtain a survey before easing the land. Thanks to a generous grant from Scenic Hudson, the land has been surveyed, and is now mere months away from being permanently protected. The Wallkill Valley Land Trust aims to complete the conservation process in September 2023. WVLT is proud to conserve the land farmed by Lynn Faurie and Barbara Masterson.

 

 

 


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