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Two donors offer match to bring project across finish line
As the farms of the Mad River Valley spring into the growing season, the campaign to permanently protect one of The Valley's best known farms and facilitate a new agricultural enterprise on Bragg Hill nears completion. With just $20,000 left to raise, two Fayston residents have stepped forward to match the final $10,000 in donations to the Bragg project. If these anonymous donations are matched, the campaign will be complete.
At this time, Vermont Land Trust and the Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership are urging every community member to join in to make a gift of any size to help protect the Bragg Farm in Fayston.
"It is very exciting to be this close to conserving a Mad River Valley farm that is a special part of our heritage and our future as an agricultural community, said Liza Walker, the land trust's Mad River Valley director. "Each and every donor to the Bragg Farm campaign is helping to make this happen."
The Vermont Land Trust has raised more than 97 percent of the funds needed to permanently protect the Bragg Farm with support from 25 local businesses, more than 300 charitable donors and grants from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the town of Fayston's Conservation Reserve Fund.
As soon as the fundraising is complete, the land trust will proceed with the sale of the conserved property to Marisa Mauro of Ploughgate Creamery. Mauro will have dairy cows and produce hand-churned artisanal butter. She will also be raising suckling pigs.
The farm will be sold at its appraised agricultural value of $165,000, which recognizes the conservation easement's restrictions on the subdivision, development or sale of the farm in the future. The community's investment in the conservation of the land will ensure the farm will remain in agriculture and be affordable to future farmers seeking an opportunity to contribute to local food production and farming in Vermont.
The land trust purchased the farm from the Bragg family in August for $760,000 and originally intended to sell it to Mauro for $175,000. Walker explained that because over a year had elapsed since the first appraisal of the property for its agricultural value, a new appraisal was needed which found that the agricultural value of the property was $165,000.
For more information about the Bragg Farm project, contact Liza Walker at 496-3690 or visit www.vlt.org/bragg.