Stewardship of the Land

Cloud 9 Farm is designated as a Conservation Easement

In May 2016, we signed with the State of North Carolina and Buncombe County to make this a Conservation Easement. A lot of people think that makes it a public park, but that’s NOT what it means at all. This is still private property but there are certain practices like erosion control, controlling invasive imported plants, crop tree release otherwise known as thinning the forest to let the crop trees grow big, that we agree to do with the support of the the county and the state taxed as “present-use value.” Summed up in the letter from Buncombe County:

“We are delighted that you recently completed the donation of a conservation easement on your land in Fairview, NC. The property is important because it contributes to the aesthetic beauty of the western mountains of Buncombe County. It has considerable agricultural value with prime soils. We know that this decision required may hours of careful thought and consideration on your part. Thank you for taking this important step.”

– Buncombe County Soil and Water

And what does that mean?
In “perpetuity” this farm cannot be developed. It must remain a farm for whomever inherits or buys it. And that’s the way we like it!

Cloud 9 Farm is proud to be awarded the NC Stewardship Forest Award.

When you vacation at Cloud 9, you’ll be able to see first hand the conservation management practices we use. NC State Foresters work with the Peterson Family to do demonstration education and consultation on best management practices. Maintaining a healthy forest involves planned select-cut timbering, erosion control, maintenance of logging roads/fire trails, and care to make use of every forest product while respecting and honoring the environment.

A sign reads "Stewardship Forest" in front of a stone wall and dense greenery.

History of Cloud 9 Farm’s Conservation

In the 1980s, the Peterson Family was the second to voluntarily enroll this 200 acres in Buncombe County’s Farmland Preservation Program – a local government program that allows farmers to voluntarily enroll their farm property in an agricultural district. The purpose of the program is to slow the decline of farmlands in the county and offer operators of farms some protection from encroachment of development.

A man and a child walk through a lush garden or orchard, examining the plants. The man holds a green bag while the child looks at the ground. Trees and greenery surround them.
Picking blueberries
Two workers in a field stand near a trench that is being excavated by a yellow Deere excavator. One worker measures the trench depth with a leveling rod. Vehicles and trees are in the background.
Engineering the creek crossing.

In 2007-2009 the Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District worked with the Peterson family and the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program to improve Lanning Branch’s water quality by:

  • Stabilizing the stream bank
  • Fencing the stream from the pasture
  • Planting for erosion control
  • Drilling a dedicated well for cattle
  • Installing water fountains
  • Establish a natural, fenced crossing
  • Riparian Restoration along stream bank

Without the fence the cows will mire up the creek banks causing erosion and muddy the waters for downstream enjoyment.

In 2008, the summer/fall drought saw clover and grass die in the pastures. The fields were brown, hay scarce and the cattle herd had to be reduced by half. In 2009, the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission: provided funding which enabled the Division of Soil and Water Conservation to administer the state Drought Response Recovery Program. This cost-share program assisted the Peterson family with pasture replenishment; lime, fertilizer, seed and use of the no-drill grass planter.

Doesn’t the pasture look healthy now? When you visit, we will give you ideas about how you can do your part to conserve our natural resources. You don’t have to live on a farm to help the environment… just make sensible choices.

Logo of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission featuring a tobacco leaf overlaid on a green outline of North Carolina on a beige background.
This money helps farmers like us. Yes, there used to be tobacco on this land.
An owl perched on a wooden post in a grassy field with several cows, including black and brown ones, grazing nearby. Trees and a fence are visible in the background.
Just the right number of cows live on Cloud 9 Farm!
A large sunflower in the foreground overlooks a dirt path curving through a grassy field with trees in the background. The sky is clear, and there are power lines visible above the field.
The beauty of the farm takes work!
A woman stands behind a table with homemade goods, including jars and packaged items. She is smiling, wearing a brown shirt and a beige cap, and is in an outdoor, wooded setting.
Janet showing off BeeBabe Made products
Cloud 9 Relaxation