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RFP: Investments for the Future of VT Agriculture (Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB))

Organization Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB)
Location 58 East State Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) seeks a consultant to develop a concise list of investments needed to address the issues laid out in the 2018 Exploration of the Future of Vermont Agriculture report.

Purpose: VHCB, in collaboration with UVM Extension, the Vermont Land Trust, the Intervale Center, and the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), seeks to identify a comprehensive set of investments required over the next decade to respond to anticipated shifts in Vermont land use, production systems, and farm viability.

The 2018 Exploration of the Future of Vermont Agriculture report, along with other recent efforts, including the Vermont Dairy & Water Collaborative, resulted in an urgent call to action. The project partners believe that upcoming challenges to Vermont’s agricultural sector will require unprecedented investment and coordination among organizations. The goal of this project is to identify and articulate the collective investments needed in land conservation, farmland access, and business and technical assistance activities for Vermont’s agricultural sector over the next decade.

We are seeking a consultant who can work with the project partners between September 2019 and January 2020 to collect data from each organization on past investments and impacts and anticipated trends, further research trends in Vermont’s agricultural sector, facilitate the project partners to come to consensus on priority investments, and write a report based on the work. The report will need to include a variety of considerations in order to build an evidence-based case for the recommended investments, including but not limited to:

Historical data on the scale of investments and impacts

  • Land conservation
  • Farmland access
  • Business and technical assistance

Projections on changes in the agricultural sector over the next decade

  • Incoming vs. retiring farmers
  • Land use trends
  • Farms and acreage affected by these trends and changes
  • Level of financial and technical assistance needed to support positive outcomes given these trends and projections

Recommended investments based on historical data and projected needs

  • High level budgets to show how investments will address needs
  • Role that each organization and potentially other partner organizations will play in the work
  • Anticipated impacts, by investment type

Scope of Services Requested: The consultant shall work with VHCB on the work described above, including the following activities:

  • Facilitate three meetings with project partners
  • Collect historical program data and anticipated trends and needs from project partners
  • Conduct research on trends in the Vermont agricultural sector
  • Develop a framework that uses historical data and anticipated needs to estimate future investment recommendations
  • Draft and finalize a report with background information and investment recommendations

Timeline: Approximately September 2019 through January 2020.

Recommended scope and timeline:

September/October 2019

  • Facilitate one half-day meeting with VHCB, UVM Extension, Intervale Center, Vermont Land Trust and CAE staff to collaboratively: clarify the scope of activities to be included in the report; determine a set of research questions based on which data will drive the analysis; and identify a list of experts who can provide the necessary data.
  • Produce a report outline to guide the collection and analysis of information
  • Meet individually with project partner staff to collect relevant data on historical program investments and impacts
  • Develop definitions to delineate and clarify program services (technical assistance, research, general outreach/promotion, educational programs, economic development initiatives, etc.)
  • Conduct research on trends in Vermont’s agricultural sector (may require interviews with topical experts)
  • Develop a framework for determining needed investments (e.g., formulas for estimating funding needs; tables to show relationships between organizational funding needs)

November/December 2019

  • Facilitate one half-day meeting with project partners to assess project status and address outstanding questions
  • Continue to collect information from project partners and conduct research
  • Develop a draft set of projections related to agricultural production, land conservation, and farm transfers based on historical data and anticipated changes in the agricultural sector
  • Complete a first draft of the report

January 2020

  • Facilitate one all-day meeting with project partners to review project results and come to consensus on a list of recommended investments
  • Facilitate report revisions and finalization
  • Provide digital archive of all project notes for future reference by project partners

Proposal Format: Proposals should include a description of approach to be used to accomplish the scope above; experience and qualifications of the consulting team; hourly or per diem rates for all individuals to be compensated; a total, all-inclusive maximum proposed cost to perform the scope of work; links to sample work products/reports if applicable; and three references. VHCB will not be responsible for expenses incurred in preparing this proposal (RFP) and such costs should not be included. Please note that additional materials and notes from meetings leading up to this RFP may be available to those developing proposals.

Evaluation and Selection: Staff at VHCB and project partner organizations will evaluate proposals and may request a meeting by phone to discuss your proposal in advance of making a decision. Decisions will be made by September 16, 2019. Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Qualifications and experience of the principal(s) who would be conducting the activities and preparing reports;
  • Prior experience with similar projects and references;
  • Sample work product and reports;
  • Quality and clarity of proposal in addressing scope and goals;
  • Ability to meet timeframe of the proposed project;
  • Proposed approach to project; and
  • Proposed cost.
Date Posted August 12th, 2019
Deadline September 4th, 2019
Categories Research / Consulting
Type Freelance
Compensation Up to $22,500
How to Apply Responses Due: September 4th at 5:00pm. Applicants will be notified of our decision by September 16, 2019. Submit proposal and letter of interest electronically to: Ela Chapin, Viability Director Vermont Housing & Conservation Board 802-828-2117

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