Rockingham hydro dam purchase raises questions about farm land

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A pending sale of a hydroelectric dam on the Connecticut River could promote organic farming in Vermont but it may displace a New Hampshire dairy farmer.

The town of Rockingham is due to get about 100 acres as part of the sale. That land may be leased to a Westminster organic farm. The Harlow Farm is in talks with Rockingham officials to lease the land once the hydroelectric purchase is complete.

But the deal may displace two dairy farmers who have been using the land to grow corn and alfalfa for cattle feed. One of those farmers is Hanson Savage Junior of Charlestown, New Hampshire. The other is Ted Putnam of Chester. Neither men have leases for the land, but have been farming it since the late 1990s.

Town officials say they need to close on the hydro deal before they focus on the use of the land.

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