Peconic Land Trust Announces Conservation of Farmland in Bridgehampton

June 14, 2024

Peconic Land Trust today announced the acquisition of 27 acres of farmland in Bridgehampton from the Topping family. The acquisition was made possible due to $18 million in donations from community members along with $30 million in funding from the Town of Southampton’s Community Preservation Fund.

“This is truly a conservation deal of a lifetime,” said John v.H. Halsey, President of the Peconic Land Trust. “We are thankful to the Town of Southampton and the many community members who saw how special and important this opportunity was and came together to make it happen. We also thank the Topping family for their willingness to consider conservation.”

In December 2023, the Trust entered into a contract with the Topping family to purchase 27 acres of productive farmland located on Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton. The farmland, which has been farmed for over 150 years, has some of the most productive soils on Long Island – Bridgehampton silt loam and haven loam. This farmland preservation effort was a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve land in an area with some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

The contract was based on the Trust securing $30 million in funding from the Town of Southampton in addition to raising $18 million. Over 25 donors contributed to the effort, ranging from $500 to $10 million.

“When we realized that the Topping Farm Property was about to be sold for residential development, our family became determined to find a conservation alternative. We were very fortunate to be introduced to the Peconic Land Trust who worked tirelessly to put a deal together and helped the neighbors raise the necessary private funds,” said Lew Frankfort who lives adjacent to the farm.

In addition to the traditional development restrictions purchased on agricultural land by the Town, this easement also includes enhanced restrictions limiting the land to 80% food production while assuring that it will always be in production and available to farmers at an affordable price when sold in the future.

The Trust was the first to use enhanced easements in Southampton as the value of protected farmland has rapidly increased causing renewed estate tax problems for farmers. It currently holds enhanced easements on about 60 acres of farmland in Sagaponack. In 2014, the Town became the first municipality in New York State to purchase enhanced easements on farmland. It has since purchased them on over 280 acres.

At the public hearing on December 21, the Town Board voted unanimously to move this deal forward. The closing occurred on April 19, 2024.

The Trust has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the resale of the protected farmland to a qualified farmer.

“The Councilmembers and I were unanimous in our desire to partner with the community and the Peconic Land Trust to preserve this property. By placing an enhanced conservation easement on these 27 acres of farmland, we ensure that it will forever be dedicated to food production and remain available to farmers at an affordable price if sold in the future,” said Supervisor Maria Moore, Town of Southampton.

“Preservation of farmland is essential for conserving the identity of Southampton and our essential environmental resources. I commend Peconic Land Trust for working with the Town to continue our commitment to protecting our East End way of life,” said Michael A. Iasilli, PhD, Councilmember, Town of Southampton.

Neighbor Greg Holbrook, who along with his partner Randy Culpepper, not only supported the acquisition but actively engaged the neighbors to learn more and participate in protecting the farmland, noted how neighbors have now become friends and proved how important it is to become involved in community. “There is a really wonderful community here in Bridgehampton. This farmland preservation, while adding significantly to the preserved farmland in this area around Kellis Pond, also created friends. Those friendships have now preserved this farmland forever, and it will remain an active farm for food production and offer beautiful vistas for all,” said Greg. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, especially the Peconic Land Trust and the Frankfort Family.”

“The Community Preservation Department is happy to have assisted in the preservation of such a significant farmland purchase in the Bridgehampton hamlet and truly appreciates the coordinated efforts of the Peconic Land Trust and all of the private donors that made this acquisition possible. Preservation of farmland is one of the most important components of the CPF Program, ensuring preservation of our critical farmland for generations to come. As an added benefit, the purchase of Enhanced Development Rights will provide sustainable locally sourced food production, preserves our rural community character and preserves our cherished agricultural vistas,” said Jacqueline Fenlon, CPF Director, Southampton Town Community Preservation Department.

“We are pleased to be able to play a role in seeing this farmland protected for future generations. When this project first presented itself, we knew that it would be a significant lift – but the town and the community have been incredible partners. It’s been a real pleasure to meet so many of the community members who share our commitment to farmland preservation and look forward to the future for this productive farmland in the heart of Bridgehampton,” said Kim Quarty, Director of Conservation Planning, Peconic Land Trust.”

About Farms for the Future Initiative

The Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative exemplifies a Pillar of the Trust’s work related to Food, Farms, and Farmers and advances agricultural viability and access to healthy food. It includes farmland leases, incubator programs, and sales of protected farmland, some with additional restrictions designed to ensure that protected farmland remains accessible and affordable to farmers in the future. The majority of the lessees operate on protected farmland owned by the Trust either at our Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm in Southold or at the Deborah Light Preserve in Amagansett, also home of the Trust’s Quail Hill Farm.

Objectives of the Farms for the Future Initiative:

  • Keep conserved agricultural land actively farmed,
  • Create opportunities for farmers to start‐up and/or expand their agricultural operations,
  • Promote the diversity of farming and farmers on Long Island,
  • Encourage food production farming,
  • Ensure that farmland is available and affordable to farmers.

To learn more about this program, please contact Dan Heston, Director of Agricultural Programs, at 631.734.5630 or or Kim Quarty, Director of Conservation Planning at 631.283.3195 or

About the Peconic Land Trust

On August 1, 2023, the Peconic Land Trust celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Founded in 1983, Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. Since its inception, the nonprofit Trust has worked conscientiously with landowners, communities, municipalities, partner organizations, and donors, to conserve 14,000 acres of land on Long Island. The Trust’s professional staff carries out the necessary research and planning to identify and implement alternatives to outright development. While working to conserve the productive farms, watersheds, woodlands, and beachfront of Long Island, the Trust is also protecting the unique rural heritage and natural resources of the region. For more information about the Peconic Land Trust, visit

More Press Releases

All Press Releases
Support the Peconic Land Trust
Peconic Land Trust needs your support to protect the working farms, natural lands, and heritage of Long Island.