Richard and Grace Blanchet, who operated a 320-acre Flathead Valley farm for 50 years, did something extraordinary before they passed away: They gifted the farm to The Montana Land Reliance.
“Words can’t describe how critical this gift is and how important and how unusual it is for landowners to give up a significant portion of their estate to protect farmland,” MLR western manager Mark Schiltz said in a Kalispell Daily Inter Lake article. “It just shows how important it was to Richard and Grace.”
The Blanchets and MLR placed a conservation easement on the farm in 2006. Grace passed in 2012 and Richard died in 2017. As planned, the farm was recently sold (with easement in place), and three-quarters of the proceeds will fund land protection in the Flathead Valley and one-quarter was allocated to MLR’s stewardship fund.