Background and Information
The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) is working with the owners of Lake Seymour Farm to provide a farmer(s) with the opportunity to acquire this farm. VLT is seeking a farmer(s) who will operate a commercial farm business and contribute to the agricultural community. VLT, the current owners, and the farm buyer will reach a mutual agreement on the timing of a closing based on the progression of the conservation process and the needs of the farm buyer. A buyer looking to acquire the entire farm may enter into a lease-to-purchase agreement.
Lake Seymour Farm is located on both sides of Route 111, just a few minutes from Newport and I-89. The farm lies to the east of Lake Seymour. This 571-acre farm comprises three noncontiguous parcels: a 471-acre parcel with all the dairy infrastructure and three residences; a 49-acre parcel with a small barn and existing mobile home; and a 50-acre bareland parcel. The farm is currently operated as a dairy and all of the infrastructure is in good condition. The owners plan to sell their dairy herd as part of the ownership transition.
The farm contains approximately 190 acres of cropland and 25 acres of pasture with 100% of the open farmland on statewide and prime agricultural soils. The soil fertility has been maintained with manure, lime, and fertilizer. The farm has access to 400 acres of additional leased cropland that the owners will secure for an incoming farm buyer. Most of the cropland and pasture on the home farm and some rented land can be certified organic. Additional land is in the second year of converting to organic. Nearly 300 acres of forestland are managed in accordance with a forest management plan.
The farm is located in an active farming community with all necessary services available for agricultural production. Over three miles of road frontage provide good access to all parts of the farm.
The farm includes the following infrastructure that has been well maintained with all systems in working order:
- Freestall dairy barn: 180 stalls, built 2006
- Farmhouse: very good condition, 3-4 bedrooms
- Two small farm labor houses
- Mobile home: used for farm labor housing
- Heifer and dry cow freestall: 160 stalls
- Commodity shed
- Extensive bunk silo capacity for feed storage
- Manure pit: two million gallon capacity, NRCS approved
- Equipment shop
- Concrete barnyard
Purchase Price of the Farm
Buyers may submit proposals for all of the farm’s acreage, or for just one or two of the parcels. The owners asking price for the parcels are:
- Entire farm with all acreage: $1,088,000
- Home farm parcel with 471 acres: $900,000
- 50-acre parcel: $88,000
- 49-acre parcel: $105,000
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A buyer may submit a proposal to lease the entire farm for a year at a cost of $6,000 per month. Lease payments will not be applied towards the purchase price. If a buyer chooses, the owners will sell feed at a monthly rate (in addition to the $6,000 lease payment) to the incoming buyer. If the buyer purchases feed, the current owners agree to put up the feed in 2017 and to spread the manure.
The current costs to operate the farm as a 200-cow dairy are:
- $1,500 per month for utilities
- $1,000 per month in taxes
- $1,200 per month for insurance
A buyer interested in acquiring the cattle may submit a proposal to buy the herd. There are approximately 240 mature cows for sale at $1,300 each. Buyers interested in young stock can make an offer in the proposal.
All parcels of the farm will be sold subject to a perpetual farmland conservation easement that will allow all types of agricultural uses and new agricultural structures. The conservation easements will include the 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 helps ensure the long-term affordability of the property to future farmers.
Easement terms specific to the Home Farm parcel are:
- The right to maintain or replace the existing farmhouse and the existing two farm labor houses.
- The right to construct and maintain farm structures.
- The right to subdivide 2 acres within the 6-acre development zone for a future house.
- The right to subdivide a minimum of 50 acres of woodland.
- The right to construct a camp on the subdivided woodland parcel.
Easement terms specific to the 49-acre parcel are:
- The right to construct and maintain farm structures.
- The right to maintain, replace, or renovate the existing mobile home for residential purposes.
Easement terms specific to the 50-acre cropland parcel are:
- The right to construct one residence within the 1-acre farmstead area.
- The right to construct new agricultural structures on the farm.
- Limited forest management activities allowed within a 1-acre riparian buffer zone for the purposes of protecting water quality.
Visit the Farm
VLT will select a proposal from a buyer who best fits the following criteria:
- Price: (a) willingness of the farmer to meet the asking price; and (b) ability to secure financing at closing (formal financing approval is not necessary to submit a proposal).
- Farm Enterprise: The farming enterprise described in the farmer’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 farmer involves several steps. A decision-making team consisting of VLT staff members, the owners of Lake Seymour Farm and an advisory committee will reach consensus on the top-tier proposals followed by in-person interviews and reference checks.
Requirements of Proposal
If you are interested in submitting a proposal, we will need the following:
- Specification on which parcel(s) you are interested in, and whether you plan to lease or purchase.
- Any conditions on a lease or purchase. This is not binding, rather an indication of what you would be willing to pay and under what terms, 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.).
- Documentation that you can finance the purchase price or pay the required rent. This can be a projection on cash flow; 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 or pay the rent. If you are selected as a finalist, you will need to secure a letter from a bank approving financing at that time or provide first month’s rent and a security deposit.
- 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.
- A 3-year income and expense projection of your proposed farm operation.
- Your qualifications should indicate that you can successfully execute your business plan. Strong agricultural references are very helpful.
- Any other information that you think is important for us to consider. This may include an analysis of markets to sell products, a SWOT analysis, or press regarding past agricultural operations.