New Hampshire Agrarian Commons
Agrarian Trust and the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons are seeking funds to complete a regenerative farm transfer and investment in soil health improvements.
Normanton Farms will be conveyed a 99-year lease to continue local food production using regenerative land stewardship practices. Normanton Farms is a pastured chicken, pastured pork, and 100% grass-fed beef farm producing 50 beef cows, 30,000 broiler chickens, and up to 100 hogs each year, directly supporting 130 local families and strengthening community and regional food systems.
The 63 acres of land presented a handful of challenges to overcome, when Steve Normanton began farming the land in 2009. Previous intensive farming and soil compaction had left the soil degraded, and flooding on the banks of the Merrimack River contributed to soil runoff and erosion. Even worse, climate change has presented longer dry periods with heavy rainfalls that simply runs off dry and compacted soils.
To combat these realities, Normanton Farms introduced a variety of adaptive land management practices to build the soil such as natural riparian buffers, rotational grazing, and native grasses suitable for a changing climate. Over the past 10 years, these efforts have led to an additional 6 inches of A-horizon soil regeneration for:
- Increased concentration of soil nutrients and soil organic matter
- Greater carbon sequestration
- Higher levels of soil moisture retention for resiliency during drought years
Steve Normanton has been farming since the age of eight and brings a lifetime of farming experience to Normanton Farms, learning from a young age how to steward 16,000 acres of African game land in South Africa and working as farm manager for a 34,000 acre dairy, pig, cattle, and crop farm before moving to the US to start his own cattle farm on leased land.
Steve's commitment to regenerative practices on the land has led to him being recognized as a Soil Health Champion by the National Association of Conservation Districts, and in 2014 he was awarded Farmer Mentor of the Year from the Northeast Organic Farmers Association.
Steve plans to retire within the next 5-10 years, and being part of the Agrarian Commons means that he does not need to worry about what will happen to the land once he leaves. The Agrarian Commons helps support opportunities for farm apprenticeship and will ensure that when the time is right, the land will transition to next generation farmers who will carry forward the regenerative practices and good stewardship of the earth that Steve brought to the land.
A Community Land Trust Seeds the Future
The Monadnock Community Land Trust, current owner of the land, is moving forward to gift the 63 acres of farm and forest land along the Merrimack River into the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons. The land is:
- 31.7 acres of prime agricultural soil and 30.4+/- agricultural soil of local importance
- Maintained in an award-winning holistic farming system for over four decades
- Protected by a conservation easement held by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture
- Located in the Town of Litchfield that is within 10 minutes of New Hampshire’s two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua.
Agrarian Trust and the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons will support:
- Farm viability, increased production, and improved conservation
- Farm transfer and transition
- Farm and ecosystem regeneration, health, and stewardship
- Food and farm partnerships with the local community
Property Transfer and Closing Costs: $12,000
Property Endowment and Reserves: $20,000
Soil and Habitat Investment: $15,000
Total Funds Needed: $47,000
Donate Today to the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons
To make a recurring monthly donation, please use our alternative form here.
To pay by check, please mail to: Agrarian Trust, 22 Buxton School Road, Weare, NH 03281
Pay to the order of Agrarian Trust, memo line "NH Agrarian Commons"
Give to the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons
Agrarian Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Your donations are 100% tax-deductible.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Thank you for the work you do to protect farm land and ensure it ends up in the right hands. I am an aspiring black female farmer; the work… Read more
Thank you for the work you do to protect farm land and ensure it ends up in the right hands. I am an aspiring black female farmer; the work you do is so important