University of Vermont

Vermont New Farmer Project Vermont New Farmer Project
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

Resource Guide: Vermont New Farmer Network Member Organization

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) supports the development of permanently affordable housing and the conservation of agricultural land, recreational land, natural areas and historic properties by non-profit groups, municipalities and certain state agencies.

VHCB programs of interest to farmers:

Farmland Conservation Program:  VHCB funds the purchase of development rights on farmland through a competitive process, considering the land resource, location, infrastructure, and management practices. Other qualities such as a public trail, a rare natural community, historic buildings, bargain sale of the conservation easement, or local fundraising add leverage to an application.  The sale of development rights can facilitate a farm transfer (the farm sells at the lower, ag-restricted value), or generate income for retirement, expansion, debt reduction, etc. An Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV) is an additional legal restriction for which the farmer is paid.  The OPAV ensures that the farm is sold at agricultural value in the future.    The value of the development rights is determined by an appraisal and is the difference between the value of the land without development restrictions and the value of the land limited to agricultural use per the terms of the easement and the OPAV. The sale of development rights allows a farmer to realize the development value of the land without subdividing the farm to sell lots.    There are two stages to the process, which can take 12-18 months to complete. To find out more, please contact:  Upper Valley Land Trust  603-643-6626 ; Vermont Land Trust 802-223-5234; or the Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets Farmland Protection Program 802-828-5435

Farm Viability Enhancement Program: The Farm Viability Program offers business planning and technical assistance to Vermont farmers. Farmers work with a farm business planner or technical assistance provider for approximately a year to create a written business plan. In the second year farmers are provided with additional technical assistance and help updating their business plans.  Examples of available services include keeping better production or financial records, financial benchmark analysis, meeting with crop or animal health specialists, new farm enterprise analysis, estate and farm transfer planning, labor management, and value-added processing. Farmers who have completed business plans with the program are eligible for grants towards capital expenses or additional technical support to implement the business plan. Information for new and aspiring farmers:

VHCB Contact Information:
Phone: 802-828-3250 
Address: 58 East State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602

Farm Viability Program Contact Information:
Phone: 802-828-2117

Last modified August 12 2010 08:10 PM