business

Business Partner Profile: Century 21 Farm & Forest

Cindy Kleh
Cindy Kleh 21 Feb 2019

Editorial Note: This profile was written as part of a paid business partnership.

The Northeast corner of Vermont has historically been known for being remote and sparsely populated, as well as having lovely lakes and mountains, world-class trail systems, ski areas, quaint towns, and an abundance of fertile farmland. Known as the Northeast Kingdom (NEK), this rural region borders Canada and encompasses the counties of Essex, Orleans, and Caledonia.

The NEK is also known for being less developed and more economically depressed than the rest of Vermont, and the state of the crumbling dairy industry has not helped. But the surging hemp industry may change that by helping struggling farmers hold on to the farms that have been in their families for generations.

“The process of growing, harvesting and drying takes about a year to see profits, so it requires a huge leap of faith, but I still see no negatives in the rising hemp industry in Vermont.”   

“There are a lot of dairy farms in the Northeast Kingdom, and most are struggling, but I see hemp as a potential supplemental income,” stated Nick Maclure, who co-manages the largest and top-producing real estate firm in the NEK – Century 21 Farm & Forest based in Derby.

“I expect to see a lot of innovation occurring in the next 5 to 10 years,” says Maclure. “In the meantime, we will welcome the growing economy, the success of farms, and the job opportunities it brings to our region.”

Farm and Forest Realty was founded in 1993 by Nick’s father, Dan Maclure, and has prospered because of hard work, a talented team of realtors and rental agents, the acquisition of other firms, and the purchase of the Century 21 franchise. Dan was a dairy and cattle farmer before and after his company’s successful rise, and despite its success in representing commercial and residential properties, the firm still specializes in farms and land parcels of all kinds.

“The surge in hemp farming will have a trickle-down effect on the economy by creating more jobs, which, in turn, spurs the housing industry. Hemp cultivation is another way to help farms remain sustainable and profitable.”

“The NEK is a great place to live and farm, and real estate prices are more reasonable here than the rest of the state,” Nick continued. “The surge in hemp farming will have a trickle-down effect on the economy by creating more jobs, which, in turn, spurs the housing industry. Hemp cultivation is another way to help farms remain sustainable and profitable.”

Nick’s father, Dan, is a prime example of a farmer who has plans for hemp-growing in his fields. “A friend of mine grew some on his property last year, and he had a very good harvest. He needed a barn to dry his hemp, and I provided that in exchange for an education in growing it,” he said, talking on his cell phone while repairing fences for this purpose.

“I used to have beef cattle, but I had to sell the herd to get by. Hopefully hemp can help me make money instead of losing it. I’m lucky to be successful in real estate, which has helped me weather the economic ups and downs, but most farmers are not that blessed. Many could be helped by hemp to get them through this period as an alternative, but most probably won’t have the money to buy seeds. The process of growing, harvesting and drying takes about a year to see profits, so it requires a huge leap of faith, but I still see no negatives in the rising hemp industry in Vermont.”   

“There isn’t really a ‘typical’ hemp farmer. Most of have a farming background, but I have also seen some folks with more of a business or corporate background express interest in buying farmland for hemp cultivation.”

The recent passing of a federal Farm Bill that legalizes hemp cultivation nationally has sparked interest in the agricultural land in this area, with some of those inquiries coming from out-of-state buyers. “We’ve had a lot of recent interest in hemp properties,” Nick added, “with warehouse space also keeping pace.”

Those buyers, both local and out-of-state, come from all walks of life with anywhere from no experience to established farmers. “There isn’t really a ‘typical’ hemp farmer. Most of have a farming background, but I have also seen some folks with more of a business or corporate background express interest in buying farmland for hemp cultivation.”

“It is exciting to learn about all of hemp’s uses – not only for CBD, but for textiles, building materials, stock feed and more!”

“I would not expect a large number of dairy farmers to sell all of their cattle and equipment and put all their eggs into the hemp basket. Sure, we all love small, family-operated farms, whether it be dairy, beef, maple sugaring, vegetables or hemp, but given there is a positive return on investment, there will be some that take it to the next level. Vermont is a ‘green’ state with a wonderful brand. It is exciting to learn about all of hemp’s uses – not only for CBD, but for textiles, building materials, stock feed and more!”

To find out more about farmland for sale in NEK, contact one of the many agents at Farm and Forest Realty who have a strong background in farming. The main office is located at 5043 U.S. Route 5 in Derby, with a satellite office in East Burke. For more information, call 802.334.1200 or visit FarmAndForest.com.

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