Preserving the Sequatchie Valley

Erich Woerner walks through a field on his farm in Dunlap, Tenn., on Friday. Woerner is conserving his land through the Tennessee Land Trust, which will ensure that it can only be used for farming in the future. Photo by Doug Strickland.

Erich Woerner walks through a field on his farm in Dunlap, Tenn., on Friday. Woerner is conserving his land through the Tennessee Land Trust, which will ensure that it can only be used for farming in the future. Photo by Doug Strickland.

THE CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS
By Louie Brogdon
Sunday, December 15, 2013

Erich Woerner stood atop Lewis Chapel Mountain on Friday overlooking the patchwork of green farmland in the Sequatchie Valley below.

“It’s being sold off in lots. It may not seem like it, but there are far more houses now than there were 50 years ago — or 20 years ago,” the 86-year-old Woerner said.

Woerner’s own farm sits at the base of the mountain. Since he and his late wife, Else Woerner, moved to the valley in 1966, he’s seen many of his neighbors sell their farmland piece by piece. He could have done the same — for a big profit. But that’s not what Woerner wanted.

Instead, over five decades, Woerner bought the plots that touched his cattle ranch. What started as a 200-acre farm is now 572.

“I’ve seen development, and it doesn’t turn me on to see this to be filled with houses. I’d buy it all if I had the money, but — what’s the lottery now, $240 million? Maybe I should buy a ticket,” Woerner said with a grin.

Woerner spent much of his life putting the farm together, and he doesn’t want to see it torn apart. So, with the help of the Tennessee Land Trust, Woerner’s land will be farmed for many generations to come… [CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE]

 

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