BFRDP Projects

Accelerating Farmland Access in Vermont
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $546,386
Grant Program: 2017 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Ela Chapin
Email: ela@vhcb.org
Organization: Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

 

  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, the Intervale Center, and the Vermont Land Trust are partnering to deliver a coordinated, proactive approach to accelerate access to land and growth of viable businesses for Vermont’s next generation of farmers. With funding from BFRDP, we will provide business planning, land access technical assistance, and succession planning to over 200 farmers, helping them gain the confidence and skills they need to succeed while matching them with suitable land or successors. One year into the project, we have worked with 66 new and beginning farmers and 48 exiting farmers.

We believe in the power of direct service as the most effective approach for improving farm viability. Farming is a complicated business that requires operators to develop diverse skill sets. Each farm business is as unique as its land-base, resources, and operator’s goals. We provide individualized one-on-one technical assistance to farmers in business planning, land assessment, land access, and accessing financing. We meet farmers where they are at to accelerate their early stage growth into viable commercial enterprises, or to provide retiring farmers with transfer planning services and assistance identifying buyers. 

An important aspect of this project is the development of new affordable financing tools at the Vermont Land Trust. We are currently developing the structure and implementing pilot projects in which VLT provides a flexible, affordable lease structure for businesses that move onto temporarily land-trust-owned properties, allowing the business to have an adjustment period as they adapt their operation to new land. The Vermont Land Trust has used this structure in the past, but we are currently adapting it to better suit farmers' needs as well as exploring additional new affordable financing tools. For non-conserved farms, farm business advisors are helping farmers access financing appropriate to their business and stage of growth. 

Number of Participants: 114

Results

Promotional Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success