Since 2016, the Farm and Forest Viability Program has been working with community partners to provide in-depth ownership succession planning for forestland owners in Vermont. The focus of this programming is to prevent the forest fragmentation that can result from a lack of sufficient land-transfer planning.
For introductory information on transfer planning, landowners may choose to participate in workshops, classes or events hosted by one of our organizational partners. A range of forestland transfer-focused educational opportunities will be available through Vermont Coverts, Vermont Woodlands Association, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and their partners across Vermont. Visit their websites or reach out to VCHB program staff for more information.
Landowners seeking comprehensive support in developing ownership transfer plans for their forestland may be eligible to enroll in VHCB's In-depth Forestland Transfer programming. This program allows landowners to work with specialized and skilled advisors who can play a neutral role as guide and facilitator during family discussions. With this guidance, landowners develop a vision for long-term stewardship and ownership, identify and address questions or needs they may encounter in the process, and create a framework for transfer of the forest to the next generation, new owner or conservation organization. Throughout the planning process, landowners may also seek specialized support from foresters, accountants, financial advisors, attorneys and mediators in the course of developing and formalizing a forestland transfer plan.
To be eligible for the in-depth succession planning advising services offered by the Viability Program, forest landowners must:
- Own forestland at least 50 acres in size or that demonstrates significant or unique community or ecological assets. Vermont residency is NOT a requirement for eligibility.
- Be willing to commit significant time to the planning process and must be committed to fully participating within the established program guidelines.
- Have goals for Forestland Transfer that align with the program’s intention of keeping forestland intact.
Applications are now open for transfer planning services. At the time of application, there is a one-time $75 fee for enrollment in the Viability Program. Please click the link below for eligibility information, instructions and application.
For Service Providers:
Through the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program’s forestland transfer planning, participating families are matched with a lead advisor, who serves as a guide through the transfer planning process. We expect that each client enrolled in the in-depth transfer planning process receives at least 20 hours of coaching/support from their lead advisor, and up to approximately 100 hours. The lead advisor role includes:
- Providing information & guidance on transferring ownership of forestland, with particular focus on the legal, financial & family dynamic involved
- Clarifying options for families
- Convening meetings
- Acting as a neutral party to family discussions
- Connecting families with subject-area specialists & preparing them for taking best advantage of those services
- Encouraging forward movement of the succession planning process
Participating organizations will also engage landowners through outreach, workshops and events, publication of educational materials, and other structured education. Please contact VHCB for more information about service provider participation.
For more information, contact:
Mark Raishart, Forest Program Specialist
m.raishart [at] vhcb.org