Farmland Conservation

  • Agriculture plays a major role in shaping Vermont's economy, landscape, and rural character. The Vermont Farmland Conservation Program is focused on retaining the state’s quality agricultural land base in strong farming regions of the state. Because of the Board's investment in conservation easements, matched by funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, some of Vermont's most productive farmland will remain undeveloped and available for farming in the future.

    Since 1987, more than 173,000 acres of agricultural land on 808 farms have been conserved with VHCB funds matched with federal funds provided through the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Proceeds from the sale of development rights has contributed to renewed vitality in agriculture, enabling young farmers to purchase farms at an affordable price and helping established farmers to reduce long-term debt, to invest in infrastructure, to make operations more profitable and efficient or to retire. At the same time that some larger dairy farms have consolidated, smaller farms are becoming stronger through diversification, by producing for specialty markets, and by minimizing costs of production. By focusing on conserving contiguous blocks of farmland in traditional farming communities, VHCB’s Farmland Conservation Program helps to ensure that farms are not isolated by residential development and communities can continue to support a healthy range of businesses that serve and rely on neighboring farms.

    VHCB relies on partners such as the Vermont Land Trust and the Upper Valley Land Trust to work directly with farmers interested in conserving their land. VHCB's Farm & Forest Viability Program provides business planning and technical assistance to farm and food, forestry and forest products businesses. The Vermont Land Trust's Farmland Access Program connects farmers with affordable farmland, often matching younger farmers to conserved land to lower acquisition costs.   

  • Preapplication Committee Meeting Dates & Submission Deadlines

    If you are a land trust or conservation organization who would like to submit a preapplication for the first time, please first get in touch with VHCB Agricultural Program Staff to discuss the project, whether or not it would be a good fit for our program, and programmatic requirements: Stacy Cibula, @email 

    If you are a landowner seeking to conserve your land, please first connect with your local land trust or conservation organization. We would be happy to provide you with a list of resources and contact information. 

    Preapplication Committee Meeting Date Preapplication Submission Deadline
    Thursday, June 27th Tuesday, June 11th
    Thursday, September 12th, 2024 Tuesday, August 27th, 2024
    Thursday, December 19th, 2024 Tuesday, December 3rd, 2024
    Thursday, April 10th, 2025 Tuesday, March 25th, 2025
    Thursday, July 24th, 2025 Tuesday, July 8th, 2025

Recent Success Stories

Vermont Water Quality Agricultural Partnership Releases Video

A collaboration among a host of agencies and organizations to improve Vermont's water quality through outreach to agricultural producers, offering training, education, technical assistance, and investments in conservation practices and improvements to infrastructure on farms.