Keeping the Green Mountain State Green | Vermont NRCS
Keeping the Green Mountain State Green
The NRCS Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) is going to help the Green Mountain State stay that way if more farmers follow the example of the DeVos family of Ferrisburgh, Vermont. The DeVos farm was recognized recently for conservation work done by the owners on 500-acres of their land located near Lake Champlain – a prime spot for high-priced housing that has been driving up land values and taxes making farming both unaffordable and undesirable. With $246,000 of FRPP funds matched with State dollars, the Vermont Land Trust recently purchased the development rights to 191 acres of the DeVoss farm. The private Freeman Foundation contributed $293,000 to conserve additional acres an adjacent farm as part of a purchase agreement to protect both properties. On hand to celebrate was U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy; Melvin Womack, chief, NRCS Easement Programs Branch and representing the agency at the ceremony; and Darby Bradley, President, Vermont Land Trust. Currently the DeVos family is working with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont on a plan to convert to an organic dairy. This fall, the DeVoses will participate in the Farm Viability Enhancement Program which provides business planning and technical assistance to Vermont farmers under a grant of $158,000 from NRCS. Vermont received $3.1 million in FRPP funds this past year. FRPP combined with State and private source matching funds will total $6.6 million for conservation of approximately 32 farms covering more than 7,000 acres of prime and statewide agricultural land in Vermont.