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Bovender Farm, North Carolina

Farmers Behind Your Food: Bovender Farm, North Carolina

In 1769, the British crown granted Tim Bovender’s ancestors 200 acres of farmland in the Appalachian foothills 80 miles west of Charlotte, N.C.  Nearly two and a half centuries later, Bovender and his wife Nell, care for the farm, which has expanded to 900 acres.

The Bovenders consider their efforts more of a lifestyle choice than simply making a living.  More than a dozen years ago, the family began putting their farm under conservation easements held and monitored by the Foothills Conservancy.  This legally binding agreement committed the family to restricting the land’s use to sustainable agricultural purposes forever.  

Tim has constructed nearly nine miles of fencing to keep his cattle out of the many streams flowing through the farm.  Controlling the livestock reduces soil erosion and excessive nutrient runoff.  To water the cattle, he dug two wells and installed 12 water tanks and almost two miles of piping with cost share assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Stewardship Program.

In 2006, the North Carolina Division of Soil and Water Conservation named the Bovenders the State Conservation Farm Family of the Year.  “I’m taking care of what was given to me,” Tim told Foothills Conservancy, “and I want to pass it on in the best shape possible.”