The Town of Farmington has issued a request for proposals for the operation of Fisher Farm. The town-owned farm on Town Farm Road was until recently run as a dairy farm. The current operator, Ron Simmons, is now raising heifers and has about 50 cows on the farm. His lease with the town, which has stretched nearly 10 years, expires April 30.
To find a new farmer, the town has put out a request for proposal, noting that it is willing to entertain proposals for many different types of farming uses. The due date for RFPs is Feb. 15 at noon. Prior to that a walk-through of the farm property, which includes a house and barns at 199 Town Farm Road, will be held for all those interested in submitting a proposal. The walk-through is encouraged but not mandatory, the RFP says.
For more information about the Town Council’s decision to issue a request for proposals, click here. To see the RPF, click here.
The council may not be in a hurry to rush the new farmer into place. When they last discussed it at a November council meeting, Council Chairman Jeff Hogan
“It’s our responsibility to preserve the asset. We want it to be a working farm… I’d love to see the lease end on April 30. I am not so concerned about executing a new lease. January 1 is fine. March is fine. At this point we’re not getting money in…” Hogan said.
Town Manager Kathy Eagen said that some work needed to be done to the house before a new farmer could move in.
In addition, part of the land falls in Avon, which holds its own lease with the farmer. That lease expires January 1 and the Farmington council would like to see the two run coincidentally. Officials have discussed the issue with the Avon town manager as well as farmers from surrounding towns.
Eagen indicated that even if things went well it would be difficult to sign a new lease on May 1.
“I have no idea if you’re this kind of farmer maybe the best day to move in is this and if you’re that kind of farmer, maybe the best day is that,” she said. “And negotiating the lease will actually take quite a bit of time because we’ll have to structure our lease to the proposal.”
Proposals should be mailed to the Town of Farmington at the Finance Department, Farmington Town Hall, One Monteith Drive, Farmington, Connecticut 06032. Request for Proposal forms are available at the Finance Department Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.