Cindy Krum, executive director of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, announces on Sept. 4 a new partnership with the owners of Maxwell Farm to protect it as working farmland. Sean Murphy / The Forecaster

CAPE ELIZABETH — It’s official: Cape Elizabeth’s Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field is now protected land.

Owners Nate and Kathy Maxwell closed a $1.8 million deal with the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust (CELT) and the Maine Farmland Trust on Dec. 18 to make sure the 76-acre property between Sawyer Road and Spurwink Avenue will remain protected as working farmland forever.

“Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field is the most recognizable agricultural property in town,” CELT Executive Director Cindy Krum said in a statement. “The farm has been the scenic gateway to Cape Elizabeth for generations and protecting it not only ensures farming in town, but also has great environmental benefits.”

The farm, which the Maxwell family has worked for six generations, produces mostly corn and hay, with a small segment reserved for beef cattle. Both trusts announced a partnership with the Maxwell family on Sept. 4 to create an easement. While not buying the land outright, it would legally prevent anyone from building on the property or using it for anything other than working farmland.

But at that time, the trusts still needed to produce $1 million through donors and fundraising to finance the deal. Representatives of both trusts said they planned to have the money by the end of the year.

Charlie Baldwin, a project manager for Maine Farmland Trust who has been helping to manage the deal, said protecting the property as farmland will make it easier for farmers to buy the property in the future.

“Given the current real estate prices in Cape, there is no way that a typical farmer would be able to buy Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field for continuing farm operations,” Baldwin said in a statement. “This easement will make it possible for enterprising farm families to realize their dreams and continue to serve and feed the community for generations to come. Ensuring that this farm stays as farmland is an investment in the future resilience of Cape Elizabeth and the surrounding community.”

According to CELT, the farm represents one of the last remaining farms in town and is now the largest permanently preserved farm parcel closest to Portland. The easement will be held by CELT, who will work with the Maxwells to maintain the land going forward.

The trust has preserved 768 acres of land on 30 separate parcels since 1985, according to the organization’s website.

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