Lewis Creek Farm:
Manage-to-Own Opportunity

I'm looking for the right person to be the next farmer here.

Hank Bissell - current owner of Lewis Creek Farm
I have owned and operated Lewis Creek Farm, since 1981. Having turned 65 in 2019, I'm starting to think about retirement and I'm looking for the right person to continue running and ultimately own this business and farm.

I'm looking for the right candidate and planning a gradual transition
I'm looking for a farmer with energy, ideas, a good business sense, and vegetable farm experience who wants to own their own farm and business. Through a gradual transition process the right candidate will take over management of the business over time, and eventually purchase the farm.

Excellent location, soils, reputation and market access
The farm is close to Burlington VT, has excellent river bottom soils with an ample water source for irrigation and many restored buildings. The business has a full line of equipment including many greenhouses and high tunnels. It has a well-known brand and significant market share in the highly supportive greater Burlington marketplace. The farm is organic sympathetic, has been a leader in the use of green manures, and pioneered the use of the term "Ecologically Grown".

A smooth transition from my farm to your farm
This farm has been my life's work and I have enjoyed it tremendously. I'm not ready to stop farming, but I'd like to have someone ready to take over and effect a smooth transition. As I am currently in good health and desire to continue working, the transition can be a gradual one allowing you the opportunity to learn about the farm, our products, and our customers. This will allow you time to build both equity and experience which will ultimately be viewed favorably with a lender.

The shape of the business has changed significantly over the years and so I expect it will continue to change to meet the ever changing marketplace and interests of the operator. I recognize that future changes will reflect the interests, skills and marketing sense of my successor. I'm excited about the prospect of new ideas and new energy coming in here and at the prospect of helping those ideas succeed.

Selection and transition timetable
Here is an outline of the transition process as I view it. In the near term it is more specific and becomes more general as time goes on, reflecting the idea that we will shape it as time progresses. In the end this has to work for both of us.
  • Send me a Letter of Interest by email.
  • I will interview a pool of prospective candidates.
  • I will explore details of a potential succession plan with a smaller pool of likely candidates.
  • I'll pick a candidate with a strong potential as my farm successor. Possibly as soon as spring 2020.
  • You will work one season as an employee as a test of our compatibility. During this time I will share with you more than I usually do with employees about details of agronomy, marketing and finances. We might well initiate one of your best ideas or crops.
  • At the end of the first season we will reassess our compatibility.
  • If at the end of the first season we both still feel like we want to continue, we will form a partnership.
  • We'll work together, increasingly implementing and assessing your ideas. We will be working towards a point where you own and operate the business and non-real estate business assets, take the risks and assume the profits.
  • Initially I will still own the real estate, lease the farm to the business, live here, and work part time on the farm. Ultimately you will purchase the farm real estate from me or my estate.

    Requirements
  • Minimum of 3 years work experience on a vegetable farm.
  • People management experience.
  • Technical crop growing knowledge gained through education and/or experience.
  • Some business experience. Might be management for someone else. Might be you own business enterprise.
  • Desire to own and operate your own farm business as well as some day own farm real estate.
  • A vision for your own farm enterprise.

    Send a Letter of Interest
    Letter of interest to be submitted by email to Lcfarm@gmavt.net. Please include the following:
  • Your resume and an outline of your experience, particularly as it pertains to the above requirements.
  • Your current situation.
  • Brief description of your vision for a farm enterprise.
  • Brief statement as to why this opportunity is of interest to you.

    I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

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