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Conservation News: Southold Farmland Protected for Next Generation

Conservation News
July 18, 2017

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo

Bill Zebroski Protects 20 Acres of Farmland in Southold Selling the Protected Farmland to Treiber Farms

Our sincere thanks goes to William Zebroski, Jr., for protecting 20 acres of productive agricultural lands in Southold. Earlier this month, Mr. Zebroski sold the development rights on his farmland at a bargain sale to the Town of Southold.  The farmland is on the north side of Route 48, to the west of Kenney Road.

According to Southold’s Land Preservation Coordinator at the public board presentation in June 2017, the sales prices was approximately 23 percent less than the appraised value of the land. Once conserved, Mr. Zebroski sold the protected farmland to neighboring farmers, Peter and Irene Treiber of Treiber Farms. The Trust assisted both the Town and Mr. Zebroski on the sale, specifically as it relates to the bargain sale, which constitutes a substantial and generous gift to the Town of Southold and the community.

As reported in Riverhead Local in June, before casting his vote at the Town Board meeting, Supervisor Scott Russell said Mr. Zebroski was “one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.” Mr. Zebroski inherited the land from his grandfather, who grew mostly potatoes along with brussel sprouts and cauliflower. The land was leased to various farmers over the years, most recently leased to the Treibers who had established a cover crop on the land. Mr. Zebroski, who worked for the Town of Southold for over 20 years, is fascinated by the change in demand for agricultural products. He made note of the recent diversification of different fruits, vegetables and crops, and commented on how the scale of farming here is so much smaller than what is seen upstate. In addition, he recognized the importance of rotating crops on the land throughout the seasons. Mr. Zebroski wishes the family the best of luck, and is pleased to see this local farm family care for his family lands.

The Treiber family began their farming operation about 3 years ago, first acquiring the 34 acres to the east of the Zebroski farmland, and 2 years ago acquiring the property to the south which included barn space — much needed by the farm for storage — and includes greenhouse and coops for chickens. A farming family, Pete and Irene Treiber are joined on the farm by their son Pete, who is the farm manager, along with their daughter Kelly and nephew Chris — and many family friends and members of the community make up the farm’s crew. The farm grows fruits, berries and vegetables, and raises chickens and bees. The Treiber’s plans are to have a fully sustainable farm operation.

Mr. Treiber attributes the friendliness and helpfulness of the East End farming community for helping him and his family get established: “They shake your hand, tell you the truth with no judgement. Everyone is out to help. It’s a good feeling to have this great support from everyone in the community.” 

We thank Bill Zebroski for his generosity to keep this beautiful farmland alive and wish the Treibers much success with their new farm. We look forward to seeing Treiber Farms grow!