From City Life to Sustainable Farming: Jef Kahn’s Journey with NCX
Mary Oreta
25 April, 2024 min read

I am Jef, raised in Queens, NY. After finishing college, the only thing I was certain of was that I wanted to live in the country. In the mid-’80s, I found an affordable 80 acres of land in somewhat neglected shape, but with a nice combination of mountainous forest and rolling pasture. Over the last 40 years, I’ve added a pond, built a house, and raised a family here. I like to think I helped create an integrated, sustainable farm.

My values drive me to be a good custodian of my property, as it has provided so much to us. As retirement approaches, I wanted to make more permanent my intentions for the property. I know I have little control over what eventually happens, but I wanted to do my best to influence the outcome. I gave back my division rights to the county (in return for a tax deduction) by placing the property in a conservation easement to prevent any future owner from subdividing. I was also looking for a more proactive way to preserve the forest and ensure best management practices going forward. This is where NCX provided an effective solution, an additional layer of protection.

I became aware of NCX through a mailing they sent to property owners in our area when they were offering their one-year harvest deferral program. I’ve since followed them as a business and was curious to learn more about the new Marketplace they’ve created. Their platform was instrumental in helping me understand what my land was eligible for and ultimately which program was the right fit for me. I’m now enrolled in a longer-term forest carbon program with an organization I might not have found otherwise without NCX.

Working with NCX was more than just about economics and helping with property taxes, which of course, is a good thing. It’s also a way for me to participate in helping with some of the challenges we all are facing. I have been impressed with the thoroughness with which NCX has kept me informed and how they communicate with the people they work with. The questions I’ve asked over the years have been promptly answered. They have provided ample information through writings, emails, phone calls, and podcasts, which had great value. This partnership has given me a way to stand up against the environmental challenges we’re all facing.

Perhaps the lesson I have learned and want to share with other landowners is that there are some small ways in which I can affect what may contribute to meaningful change, to the benefit of us all. NCX has been an important part of helping me achieve my vision for, what is for the time being, my property.

Note from NCX:
Thank you, Jef, for sharing your story with us and the NCX community. Your dedication to your land, the thoughtful stewardship you’ve practiced, and the legacy you’re building are truly inspiring. It’s landowners like you who highlight the profound connection between people and their land.

Jef’s experience resonates deeply with us here at NCX, reinforcing our commitment to the land and those who take care of it. We witness daily how small steps by people like Jef can lead to significant, positive impacts. This forms the core of our mission: to partner with landowners who see their land as a living legacy; a part of a much larger puzzle that sustains us all. Our support extends beyond conservation; it’s about helping to navigate the financial aspects of land ownership and alleviating the burden of costs like property taxes through suitable natural capital programs that we present on our marketplace. Choosing NCX means choosing a guide that understands—it’s about the sustainable legacy we help you cultivate and the lasting imprint we all leave on the world.

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about the author

Mary Oreta