Egg And I Angus: 115 acres of historic farmland in the Chimacum Creek watershed.
We’re thrilled to announce that Egg And I Angus, one of the largest family farms remaining in the Chimacum Creek watershed, is now protected forever!
Julia Nottingham accompanies Land Trust representatives Owen and Sarah Spaeth on a tour of Hannan’s historic barn and attached milking parlor.
Located four miles south of Chimacum in Center Valley, Egg And I Angus is a 115-acre historic cattle farm run by daughter-and-mother team Julia Nottingham and Laurie Hannan. The farmland has been in agricultural use for more than a century, and nearly a mile of Chimacum Creek — with spawning habitat for coho and steelhead — runs through it.
After more than three years of working with Julia and Laurie to protect the farm, local, state, and Navy funding made it possible for the Land Trust to purchase two easements on the farm. These easements limit development of the property, ensuring it will remain available as farmland for all time.
“We felt that this land should be preserved as a farm, because we think it’s one of the most valuable assets in the valley as far as farming is concerned,” Laurie says.
Egg And I Angus lies within a specific agricultural geographical priority area identified by the community in the Land Trust’s Conservation Plan. The soil has been classified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service as “Farmland of Statewide Importance,” and the property’s barn and attached milking parlor, built in 1900, is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Plaque on the historic barn.
“We’ve been working to protect the larger farms in Beaver and Center valleys because it’s the prime agricultural area of East Jefferson County,” explains Sarah Spaeth, the Land Trust’s Director of Conservation and Strategic Partnerships. “This farm exemplifies that. It’s got the upper reaches of Chimacum Creek, prime soils, flat pastureland, and a history of being in agricultural use.”
Julia inherited the farm from her late father, Bob, 10 years ago. Raised in Port Angeles, Bob took correspondence courses in dairy farming during his time in the Navy before purchasing the farmland from the Oaks family around 1960 and running it as a dairy.
Another view of the farmland after a spring hail storm.
“Bob was incredibly talented, a good businessman, and a great farmer. He loved Holsteins and he worked like a dog on this place,” says Laurie. In the historic barn, she points out the cattle gates that Bob, a machinist by trade, welded himself decades ago: they are self-lubricating, still in use, and strong as ever.
Unfortunately, Bob suffered poor health in his later years and was unable to keep up with the demands of the farm. Upon inheriting it, Julia and Laurie found themselves with the tremendous job of removing many tons of scrap, including 65 tons of metal, in addition to dealing with a feral herd of Holsteins. Neither of them had had any experience with farms since they’d both lived on the farmland when Julia was a small child; in those days, dairy wives didn’t often do much hands-on work on the farms their husbands ran.
“That was ‘man’s work,’” Julia laughs. “But farming’s changed a lot in the last 50 years. A lot of new organic farms are being run by female entrepreneurs. That’s really astonishing, and outstanding.”
A Black Angus cow on Egg And I Angus during a spring hailstorm.
Julia and Laurie worked hard to clean up the property, repair the facilities, and learn to care for cattle. Eventually, they turned over the Holsteins and in 2016 bought three pregnant registered Black Angus cows from Julie Boggs of nearby Westbrook Angus. Julie, whom Laurie describes as “one of the most knowledgeable cattlewomen you’d ever care to meet,” took Julia and Laurie under her wing, becoming their mentor.
Today, they have more than 50 Black Angus cows on their beautiful property. “We’re providing agricultural and meat products for our community to eat, because mass-produced meat is not always the best way to go,” Julia says. Their plans for the future include seeding the fields, digging a well, and building fences.
“It’s inspiring to see how this mother-daughter team has brought the farm back to life,” says Sarah Spaeth. “They’ve invested so much of themselves, their time, and their resources into this place. To be able to support them with purchase of the easement was so gratifying.”
Two curious cows at Egg And I Angus.
The Land Trust is proud to have helped many local farmers and farming families see the benefits of protecting their land with conservation easements. The monetary reimbursement the farmers receive for relinquishing development rights on their property can serve as a much-needed cash injection to invest into the farming operation during critical years.
“It allowed us the funds to keep the farm going and not have to sell it,” Julia explains. “It gave us an avenue to make the farm a better place, to get it cleaned up, and make sure the facilities were all up to scratch.”
This project was made possible with the support of the Navy REPI (Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration) program, the Jefferson County Conservation Futures Program, and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) farmland preservation grant program, which provides funding to buy development rights on farmland to ensure it remains available for farming in the future as well as to restore natural functions, improving the land’s viability for farming. The Land Trust’s application for Egg And I Angus was ranked third statewide when we applied for the RCO farmland grant in 2020.
“My dad was very proud of this farm,” Julia says. “And I hope he’d be proud of what we’ve done here. He wouldn’t have made all the same choices we have; he was kind of old school. But I know he’d be glad to know that it’s going to remain a farm.”