Learn more about how American Farmland Trust helped transform a farm property into one of the most cutting-edge agricultural research and training centers in the United States.
In 1947, Eleanor and Lawrence Smith acquired Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, Maine, as a summer retreat. In 1985, after Lawrence passed away, Eleanor and her family donated the farm to American Farmland Trust (AFT), which promised to protect the land from development. The Smiths’ generosity paved the way for the creation of Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in 2017 – a hub for climate research, agricultural training, and recreation.
Since then, the Center has helped pioneer sustainable agriculture practices by creating the Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management (OpenTEAM) to provide farmers around the globe with soil health management data and access to tools like remote sensing, field-level carbon measurement, and predictive analytics. By providing access to this data and facilitating collaboration between farmers and scientists, farmers can increase the productivity, resilience, and sustainability of their land, and help mitigate climate change.
The Center also conducts cutting-edge research on greenhouse gas emission reduction. For example, the “Bovine Burp Busters” program is working to determine whether adding Maine seaweed to cows’ diets can help reduce methane emissions from cattle.
The Center also provides opportunities for education and recreation for the surrounding community. Training programs offered at the farm help the next generation of farmers while also educating young people about regenerative, carbon sequestering agriculture techniques like cover cropping and crop rotation.
The property’s mix of estuarine and forest habitats also make for a great hiking and birding experience. The farm has taken great efforts to preserve the natural landcover in and around the property, thus facilitating an exciting outdoor experience while also protecting the region’s biodiversity. All of the programs and activities at the center are incorporated in a Master Plan for the Property developed by the Center in coordination with AFT.
Learn more about Wolfe’s Neck Farm for Agriculture and the Environment
Learn more about American Farmland Trust