Dear Farmland Seekers and Service Providers.
Please send this information on to anyone that is interested. Information is available at http://www.vlt.org/initiatives/lafreniere
Background and Information
Thank you for your interest in the Lafreniere Farm in Hinesburg, Vermont. The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) is working with the Lafreniere Family and the Hinesburg Land Trust to provide a farm buyer the opportunity to acquire this 214 acre farm. The asking price is $310,000. There will be two open houses to view the farm July 7th and July 12th.
VLT will enter into a lease-to-purchase agreement with a farm buyer. VLT expects the lease period to last approximately 17 months; during that time VLT will finalize the conservation process. VLT will negotiate the final details of the lease with the selected farm buyer to provide any needed flexibility.
The 214 acre Lafreniere Farm is located approximately two miles north of Hinesburg Village on Route 116. The frontage on Route 116 provides a unique opportunity to directly market farm products in Chittenden County close to Burlington.
The farmhouse, built in 1939, has 2,664 feet of living space. The farmhouse has the potential to be converted into a two-family living unit. A drilled well provides water for the house and the former dairy barn. The dairy barn has not been in active use.
The farm has approximately 60 acres of tillable land and 60 acres of pasture. The soils are mostly Vergennes Clay with two percent to twelve percent slopes. The remainder of the land is a mix of forest, wetland and rare ecological areas. Some of the forested land was previously used as pasture and could be converted back into pasture. Property taxes are approximately $5,500 per year.
The farm will be sold subject to a perpetual farmland conservation easement that will include an option to purchase at agricultural value. This option allows VLT to purchase the farm at its agricultural value should the buyer (or a future owner) attempt to sell the farm to a non-farmer. This provision is added to the easement to ensure the long-term affordability of the property to future farm owner-operators.
There will be a designated “farmstead complex” of approximately nine acres where farm and forestry structures can be built without prior approval of VLT. The final size and delineation of the complex will be configured to provide long-term utility to the farm buyer. Agricultural structures may be built outside of the farmstead complex with VLT’s prior written approval. Future non-subdividable farm-labor housing may be granted provided it is vital to the agricultural business. The existing farmhouse may be converted to a duplex. Farm labor housing may be constructed with prior VLT approval.
The easement will provide special protection for a Clayplain Forest, a rare plant community located in the northeastern corner of the farm. A surface water protection zone, consisting of 42 acres, will require that management and use of that area be conducted in a manner designed to protect soil integrity, minimize erosion, and incorporate up-to-date ecological knowledge and management practices. Agricultural use within the archeological protection zone is permitted however large excavation and structures are limited in this area. A copy of the draft conservation easement is available upon request.
Price of the Farm
The asking price is $310,000. This is the appraised restricted value of the 214 acre property subject to a Vermont Land Trust conservation easement and option to purchase at agricultural value as described above.
We are hosting two open houses at the farm to allow potential buyers to see the property. They will be held on Monday, July 7th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Saturday, July 12th, from 10a.m. to 2 p.m.
We strongly recommend that interested seekers attend an open house, since there is limited availability to see the farm outside of the open house dates. Applicants are asked to respond if planning to attend.
VLT will select a proposal from a buyer who best fits the following criteria:
• Price: (a) willingness of the buyer to meet our asking price; and (b) ability to pay cash at closing and/or proof that all necessary purchase financing has been, or can be, secured. A lease to purchase agreement will be structured with the farm buyer so use of the farm can begin after the selection.
• Farm Enterprise: The farming enterprise described in the buyer’s proposal is: (a) well suited to the size, soils, and configuration of the farm; (b) well adapted to local markets for farm products and will contribute to the local farm economy; (c) likely to encourage long-term commercial use of the farmland; and (d) economically feasible.
• Farming Experience: Demonstrated farming experience and training that relates to the proposed farm operation.
• Food & Fiber: Priority will be given to those proposals where food or fiber for human use is produced.
VLT is often presented with several good proposals, so this is a competitive process. Reaching a final decision on the farm buyer involves several steps. A decision-making team consisting of VLT staff members will reach a consensus on the top-tier proposals, followed by in-person interviews and reference checks for top-tier applicants. Additionally, VLT will seek input from an independent advisory committee before reaching a final decision. Upon completion of this process a final buyer will be selected.
Requirements of Proposal
If you are interested in making an offer, we will need the following by August 11, 2014:
1. The amount of your offer and any conditions. This is not a binding offer, rather an indication of what you would be willing to pay, when you would be able to close on the purchase, and what you might condition your offer on should you be selected as the buyer of the property (e.g. the sale of your home, financing, etc.).
2. Documentation that you can finance the purchase price. This can be a farm-business balance sheet; a statement of your assets/net worth; or it can be any combination of such materials that will assure us that you have the financial resources to complete the purchase. If you are selected as a finalist you will need to secure a letter from a bank approving financing at that time.
3. Preliminary land-use plan for the farm. This would include a broad overview of the near- and long-term use of the land. Please indicate any changes and improvements to the property you envision and how you would finance these improvements; be sure to provide documentation for this financing.
4. A 3-year income and expense projection of your proposed farm operation.
5. Your qualifications that indicate that you can successfully execute your business plan. Strong agricultural references would be very helpful.
6. Any other information that you think is important for us to consider. This may include an analysis of local agricultural markets, a SWOT analysis, or press regarding past agricultural operations.
Please send your offer and related materials to: Jon Ramsay, Vermont Land Trust, 8 Bailey Ave., Montpelier, VT 05602. To request additional materials, call Jon at (802) 533-7705 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any further questions about the farm resource and process, or if you cannot make this deadline, but are interested in the farm, contact us anyway; we will keep you informed of the progress of the farm sale.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Farmland Access Program Director
Director, Farmland Access Program
Vermont Land Trust
P.O. Box 143
Greensboro, VT 05841