AmericanFarm.com

Wolfe puts vision into reality with farmland

By JONATHAN CRIBBS
Staff Writer

CHARLOTTE HALL, Md. (Nov. 11, 2014) — Nancy Wolfe said she used to drive home from her former job in the Charles County government’s office on aging and take slow diversions down Allens Fresh Road, a winding, two-lane street that offers pastoral views of farmland along the Wicomico River near the border between St. Mary’s and Charles counties.
She’d drive as slow as possible, and she’d notice Westwood Farm, and its prettiness.
Now, she owns the property, and she’s seeking to make sure it stays the way she first saw it: unblemished and farmable.
“My brother and I didn’t have any children, and I wanted to know I had some control over it,” Wolfe, 62, said as she recently sat alongside the river at Woodland Point on the farm, one of five she owns. “I wanted to know it wouldn’t be developed.”
In a ceremony on Oct. 30, Wolfe and others announced the creation of the Wicomico Valley Foundation of Southern Maryland, created to preserve rural land owned by Wolfe and hopefully others as well, Wolfe said. She sees a future for farmers on the land as well as 4-H students, Boy Scouts and private and public events such as the growing, two-hour fireworks show she holds each year at Westwood.
Some of the land she owns is already preserved through state programs, she said.
The 800 acres of Westwood, however, will be gradually preserved into the foundation, a public charity, as it benefits Wolfe for tax reasons, she said.
Eventually, the foundation will include roughly 1,600 acres.
“It is important to have local farms, and there’s more and more small farms now,” she said. “I’m always getting a call: ‘Do you have anything available to rent?’”
Wolfe, born into a Charles County farming family, said she grew up on Southern Maryland fields. She and her brother, Larry, bought Westwood after selling their mother’s farm in Clinton in 2006.
Larry, however, died last year, walking one of the family farms in St. Mary’s County, and she said the foundation is something he would have appreciated.
The foundation just started a Friends of the Wicomico Valley Foundation with a website that allows visitors to make donations. They’re also looking for volunteers to do everything from clear trails and even teach kayaking.
David Hancock Jr., president of the Charles County Farm Bureau, was at the ceremony to start the foundation. He said he’s thrilled about Wolfe’s preservation efforts.
“I think it’s a great thing especially with ag land preservation funds from the state and the county steadily decreasing, I think we’re going to have to rely on these private sector groups to preserve agriculture,” he said.
Wolfe said she’s just happy the land is safe from change.
“This is my way of giving back to the community,” she said. “The foundation will allow the property to be used for other things besides farming.”