Land Management Resources for Farm Owners
Our stewardship staff helps farmers who own conserved land with questions related to conservation easements. See our guide, When to Call VLT, to learn when you need to notify us about or get approval for a land-management activity. We can also connect you with helpful resources. Below, you’ll find some useful information on farm-management topics.
Water Quality Improvements
Since Vermonters are working to clean up Lake Champlain, funding for water quality improvements on farms is becoming more available.
Many conserved farms have worked hard to improve water quality. As a result, water is cleaner and potential flood damages downstream of the farms will be reduced. Farmers with conserved land can sometimes sell more restrictions on land within a floodplain. These restrictions can vary based on your land, farm business, and the river, and might include:
- planting and/or maintaining a strip of trees and shrubs on the banks
- taking some land out of agriculture, or moving cows further away from water
- not building anything that would impact the movement of the river channel (e.g.: walls, boulders, riprap)
We can also help you navigate water quality funding from state and federal sources,including:
- Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
- Vermont Agency of Agriculture
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Also, this guide from Vermont Association of Conservation Districts offers helpful information for new and small farmers, forest and agricultural landowners on farm management techniques that improve water quality.
There are many ways to boost soil fertility while managing erosion and drainage. For more information, see UVM Extension’s soils, crops, and pasture resources.
Want to use cover crops on your land? Learn about available funding and technical assistance by contacting a specialist at NRCS (download the NRCS Statewide Directory here).
Interested in nutrient management planning? Check out UVM’s Contacts and Resources on Vermont’s Crops and Soils. We recommend working with a conservation planner from the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, someone at USDA NRCS, or an independent Certified Crop Adviser.
There are lots of plants in Vermont that are not native to our state. Many of these do not pose a problem (for example, clover or tulips). Yet there are several that can damage or completely take over forests, fields, lakes, or riverbanks (for example, wild parsnip and knotweed). These invasive species usually spread rapidly, and are very difficult to remove and manage.
VLT hosts public workshops on managing invasive plants. If this interests you, then let your stewardship manager know you’d like to have a workshop held near you. In addition, you can sign up for our eNews to get updates on events, or visit our events page. Another helpful website is Vermont Invasives, which offers fact sheets on how to identify and manage all kinds of invasives–both plants and insects. And you can always reach out to your stewardship manager for advice on invasives management.
Transitioning Your Business
VHCB’s Farm Viability Program helps farmers who want to create a business plan or make a change to their business.
The Vermont Land Trust’s Farmland Access Program is one resource for farmers who are ready to sell their land but also want to make sure it is still farmed. We recommend talking with an attorney or accountant once you begin to look at transferring your farm.
Further helpful resources include:
- VHCB Farm Viability Program’s Guidelines for Transfer & Succession Plans
- UVM Ag Extension’s Family Farm Succession in Vermont
- Land for Good’s Toolbox for Farm Transfer Planning
- Vermont Land Link