Over the past 40 years, Vermont made substantial investment and progress in farmland conservation, permanently conserving 15-20% of the state’s farmland. Farmers have greatly benefited from ongoing, coordinated conservation efforts, yet threats to farm viability in the state continue to loom large. At least 3,000 Vermont farms and many more acres of high-quality agricultural soils are not conserved. Over the next five years, as many as 300 Vermont farms (conserved and not-conserved) may change hands as existing farmers retire. If managed strategically, these transfers could lead to the next generation of vital farms and strengthen Vermont’s rural economies. If not, land farmed for generations could sit fallow, become less productive, or be lost to development. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the urgency of securing our agricultural land base in order to support a more localized food supply.
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