At meetings in May and June, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board committed $4.2 million in state and federal funding to conserve 2,100 acres of farmland on 19 farms in Franklin, Chittenden, Addison, Washington, Lamoille, Rutland, Grand Isle and Essex Counties. VHCB matched $1.5 million in state funds with $2.7 million in federal funding for farmland protection from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
In each case, the farmers will sell conservation easements, limiting any future development to the terms of the easement. As a result of these funding commitments, the Vermont Land Trust will conserve farms in Bristol, Panton, New Haven, Milton, Essex Junction, Cambridge, Johnson, Hardwick, Jericho, St. Albans, South Hero, Fayston, Pawlet, Guildhall, and Maidstone. Together, the conserved farms include more than six miles of river frontage. Eight farms involve transfers to new owners, and several involve new enterprises with young farmers.
Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board said, “These funding commitments represent the breadth of VHCB’s conservation mission, encompassing wildlife habitat protection, farmland conservation, public recreation opportunities, and the preservation of historic public buildings. With these elements intact, future generations of Vermonters will be able to appreciate the working landscape, natural areas and community landmarks that are fundamental to our identity and to the tourism and agriculture sectors.”
Read more about VHCB's farmland investments, including the former Bragg farm in Fayston, at Vermont Business Magazine.