New houses are popping up in Palmer all the time -- but now there's a new patch of land that nobody can build on.

A 74-acre parcel in Palmer has been designated as permanently conserved farmland.

The protected land is part of Alaska Pacific University's Kellogg Spring Creek Farm, which is currently the largest privately owned working farm in Southcentral Alaska.

In recent years, neighboring farm parcels have been bought and turned into subdivisions. But thanks to a six-group project, the 74 acres of Kellogg Spring Creek Farm will be protected permanently from new development.

APU was aided by four trusts -- the Great Land Trust, Alaska Farmland Trust, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the DeWolf-Kellogg Trust -- as well as the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The land is home to a hay field right now, which is used to feed local livestock, a segment of agriculture growing rapidly in the state.

Those who fought to conserve it say Palmer has some of Alaska’s richest soil, which must be kept safe.

“Some people think about that, 'Oh, you protected a hay field,' but it will be protected forever," said Alaska Farm Trust executive director Amy Pettit. "And in 10 years, if they want to switch to vegetable production and want to start growing potatoes and carrots and other things, it will be there.”

The Kellogg Spring Creek Farm parcel is valued at just over $1 million. It was paid for in large part by donations and the USDA.

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