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Historic Family Farm In Midway Is Preserved

The non-profit land trust Utah Open Lands has reached an agreement to preserve the Albert Kohler Legacy Farm in Midway—102 acres of scenic farmland that has been home for five generations of the same family.  

On Thursday, Utah Open Lands said the family agreed to a bargain-sale price of $7 million for a conservation easement that permanently protects the farm and its open space.     

The farm is famous for its Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, Tractor Days, and yearly school tours.

Utah Open Lands said family head Grant Kohler has been hoping since the mid-1990’s to save the farm and its entry-corridor view for the community.    Three years ago, Utah Open Lands and the family agreed to pursue conservation.

The family resolved to keep the farm intact, even with the challenges from COVID-19 in the past 20 months and sky-rocketing land values creating pressure to sell to developers.

The Legacy Farm is the first project completed with the first open space bond issued in Wasatch County and Midway City. Wasatch County contributed $2 million and Midway contributed $1 million. 

With $4 million left to raise, the campaign also got help from the LeRay McAllister Fund, contributing $500,000, money from the Natural Resource Conservation Services Agricultural Land Easement program, a grant from the George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Foundation, a local anonymous donor and members of the Utah Open Lands board.

Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher said the family itself donated 30 percent of the conservation easement value.  In today’s real-estate market, that’s more like 50 percent or more, she said.

Senator Mitt Romney also helped out when the project stalled on a federal level.   Romney said about the family, “They have been staunch advocates for Heber Valley’s agricultural industry because they so deeply care about the history and heritage of the farm.”

Utah Open Lands will have a celebration at the farm, Friday at 1 p.m. at 920 River Road.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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