Managing a working farm is incredibly hard work. Transferring that farm when the time is right can be even more difficult.
Chris Hopkins managed Stone Wall Dairy Farm in Connecticut for 12 years until last fall. Having reached his 10-year goals for the farm—stabilizing the building and barns, diversifying to include organic eggs and vegetables, and establishing a marketing plan through a farm stand in a high-traffic area—he made the tough decision to start planning the transfer of his organic dairy farm in 2015.
After meeting all his personal goals for Stone Wall Dairy, he had one objective left: for the well-established farm to remain in dairy as a valuable resource for the Cornwall CT community. But Chris was too busy to handle the extensive details of the transfer alone.
I knew I was getting burnt out. I also knew I needed to recognize the things I couldn’t do on my own and ask for help,” shared Chris.
That’s when Chris turned to Land For Good (LFG) for assistance in his complex transfer plan. In Chris’ case, this included recruiting a successor. It took three years of hard work and support to make a successful transfer of Stone Wall Dairy Farm. The transfer was completed in November, 2018.
Chris isn’t alone. Farmers seeking planning assistance–and sometimes a successor–as well as farm seekers reach out to LFG for help navigating these challenging transitions.
As the only organization focused solely on farm access, tenure, and transfer in New England, we are a unique resource for people like Chris. Our field agents helped Chris clarify his transfer goals, develop a transition plan, publicize his transfer opportunity, and connect him with other advisors. LFG also fielded inquiries from prospective buyers and facilitated meetings.
I am grateful for the privilege over the past decade to steward the land and animals of Stone Wall Dairy Farm through more sustainable, organic farming practices, connecting with people, building community, and helping to preserve this beautiful small farm,” said Chris.
Throughout the process, Chris relied heavily on frequent communication, and intensive meetings with our staff and advisors on his team, often at his kitchen table. When a suitable transferee was found, LFG helped Chris manage the details of the complicated transfer of his farm assets and business to the young, incoming farmers. In this innovative transaction, a farmland investment firm played a key role.
It was clear that Land For Good truly cared. They knew what kind of help I needed, and they were a stabilizing force. That felt good,” shared Chris.
Thanks to LFG’s support, and Chris’ dedication to his farm and land, a diversified local dairy farm that’s a fixture in the community will continue to thrive, providing opportunity for another generation of farmers.
If you share our belief that local, sustainable farms are the foundation of our communities and regional food systems, please consider showing your support and donate today so that LFG can continue to be the help that these farmers and farmland owners need.