TOWN OF SHELBY, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- The Mississippi Valley Conservancy is an organization geared toward preserving land and part of how they do that is through donations.
Sue Strehl's family has owned a 99 Acre farm in the Town of Shelby has since 1914.
"It was my mom's parent's farm," Strehl said. "Half of the barn was original so that's over a 100 years old. So then they added a piece on and all of the other buildings were built by them, mostly with wood from the hills."
Now the property belongs to Sue, but she doesn't have any children to pass it on to. So she donated to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy to ensure its preservation.
"The land stays in private ownership, it stays on the tax rolls," said Tim Jacobson, director of MVC. "They get to keep owning the land, they can sell it if they want, they can give it to a family member. If it's a farm they can continue to farm the land. And so, it's very flexible, it's a tool that we can custom tailor for the needs of the individual land owner and the futures of the land."
Sue wanted to ensure the land didn't turn in to a development.
"I just think it should stay as a farm because we're close enough to the city, everything's getting built up around here and I just really didn't want to see that happen to this property," Strehl said.
Sue can live on the land as long as she pleases, but when she sells it, the new owners are bound by the contract set up with MVC.
"They can build one other site and that's really the only restriction I'm putting on it," Strehl said.
"Sue has defined a residential zone where there are buildings," Jacobson said. "The farm buildings, the house can remain, there can be an additional house. But, the wildlife habitat and the farm fields, those remain for those purposes forever."
Sue says the natural beauty of the land gave her a childhood full of memories.
"I always loved going for a run up the hill," Strehl said. "And that was back when the cows were allowed to graze, so it was always chewed off like a mowed lawn, so it was like this mowed park. And then in the fall it's glorious, the trees turn all colors and it's just beautiful."
And now the property will be there to give generations to come, the same experience.
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