Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF)
In 2005, the Vermont General Assembly established the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) through Act 74 (30 V.S.A. § 8015). The purpose of the Fund is to increase the development and deployment in Vermont of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources, primarily with respect to renewable energy resources, and the use in Vermont of combined heat and power technologies. The Vision for the CEDF is to serve the citizens of Vermont by increasing local small-scale renewable energy generation while maximizing associated economic development. The Fund coordinates with other state programs and private entities to integrate and advance renewable energy across all sectors of the State’s energy economy. Read more…
Farm and Residential Heating Oil Tank Removal Grants (FRHOTR)
The goal of the finacial assistance program is to assist low income VT property owners in replacing, or upgrading, tanks which otherwise might leak and cause adverse impact to the environment. In many cases, this means prioritizing funds to the lowest incomes applicants who otherwise would not have the financial resources to accomplish the tank replacement. Environmental risk and household income are the two main considerations for allocation of funds, as set forth in Statute. The amount of an applicants financial assistance will be determined at the time when a complete application is received and reviewed. Applicants will be notified in writing if they are approved and how much financial assistance they may receive. Any application deemed ineligible to received financial assistance will also be notified in writing of the denial of the application. Read more…
Farmland Access Program (FAP)
Farmland Access Program through the Vermont Land Trust provides farmers with opportunities to purchase or lease affordable farmland so that they can start up or expand agricultural businesses. Supporting local communities, local food production, and the long-term productive use of farmland are all objectives of this program. Gaining access to high quality, affordable farmland is one of the most difficult obstacles for beginning farmers and expanding agricultural operations. The challenge is especially acute for enterprises that depend on being near Vermont’s economic growth centers—areas where land values remain strong even in the current economic climate.
Minimum qualifications require candidates to have 3 years of commercial farming experience, strong agricultural references, plans to develop an agricultural enterprise that would gross $100,000 per year within 5 years of start up, and sufficient financial resources (or ability to be financed) for start-up expenses. Our focus is on farms producing food and fiber that would use at least 25 acres of land. Read more…
Vermont Farmland Conservation Program
Vermont Farmland Conservaiton Program through the Vermont Housing and Conservaiton Board is focused on retaining the state’s quality agricultural land base in strong farming regions of the state. The purchase of conservation easements on farmland preserves Vermont’s working landscape–the open farm fields, woodlands and farmsteads that comprise the third largest sector in the state’s economy and draw visitors that make tourism the largest sector. Because of VHCB’s investment in conservation easements, some of Vermont’s most productive farmland will remain undeveloped and the best soils will remain available for farming in the future. Selling conservation easements enables a landowner to keep land in agricultural use and be compensated for potential development value of the land, recognizing the asset value of the land. The landowner retains title and agrees to terms of a conservation easement limiting future ability to subdivide and develop the land. Read more…
Nature Conservancy Conservation Easements (CE)
Land ownership carries with it a bundle of rights—to occupy, lease, sell, develop, construct buildings, farm, restrict access or harvest timber, among others. A landowner can give up one or more right for a purpose such as conservation while retaining ownership of the remainder. Private property subject to a conservation easement remains in private ownership. Many types of private land use, such as farming, can continue under terms of a conservation easement, and owners can continue to live on the property. The agreement may require landowner to take certain actions to protect land and water resources, such as fencing a stream to keep livestock out or harvesting trees in certain way; or to refrain from certain actions, such as developing or subdividing land. Conservation easements do not mean properties are automatically opened up to public access unless so specified in an easement. The terms of a conservation easement are set jointly by landowner and the entity that will hold easement. Read more…
Technical Assistance Programs (TAP) through Northeast Organic Farming Association
are free to farmers – made possible by grants from the VHCB’s VFP and VAAFM. Vegetable and Fruit Technical Assistance provides technical assistance to organic farmers in Vermont seeking production and financial assistance on small fruit and vegetable operations. Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance provides Information, Services and Support for Vermont’s Organic Dairy & Livestock Community.
Use Value Appraisal Program (UVA)
was created in the 1970’s as a companion to legislation that required towns to list property at 100% of fair market value. Because of escalating land values, these property taxes were placing a heavy burden on owners of productive farm and forestlands. The UVA offers landowners use value property taxation based on productive value of land rather than traditional “highest and best” use of the land for parcels of at least 25 contiguous acres. Use value of qualifying forest land is assessed at up to $122/acre and agricultural land at $215, far less than the fair market value. The UVA includes a Land Use Change Tax as a disincentive to develop land. The tax is 20% of fair market value of a property, or, in case of the sale of part of a property, a pro rata share of the fair market value of the entire property. The program is administered by the Vermont Department of Taxes.
Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVP)
offers business planning and technical assistance services to Vermont farmers as part of a statewide effort to improve the economic viability of Vermont agriculture. The program is funded by the VHCB, VAAFM and NRCS. Farmers enrolled work with a farm business planner provided through cooperating organizations, or directly with an individual consultant. The planning process involves the farmer in an assessment of farm operation’s strengths and weaknesses and in exploration of management changes that could increase profitability. Examples include consultations on keeping better production or financial records, financial benchmark analysis, meetings with crop or animal health specialists, new farm enterprise analysis, estate and farm transfer planning, labor management, and value-added processing. Farmers who have completed plans with the program are eligible for grants for capital expenses or additional technical support in implementing the business plan.
Vermont Farm Women’s Fund (VFWF)
mission is to sustain and assist women pursuing a secure farming future with innovative agricultural businesses and stewardship of the land. The Farm Business Development Fund is provides funds for education and travel related to helping recipients improve some aspect of the business. The fund will pay 75% of cost (up to $750) of travel, registration, lodging and other costs of attending business classes, conferences, workshops, trainings or other professional development opportunities. The Leadership Development Fund is provided to ensure that women have the skills, access and opportunity to become leaders in agricultural policy development. Funds help defray costs of tuition for leadership training, travel expenses, and/or related costs associated with participation in agricultural policy work that addresses barriers encountered by women in agriculture.