Heifer International Announces Agreement for Sale of Remaining Land at Rutland Farm

By Heifer International

November 3, 2020

Part of the property was purchased by a member of the Williams family in 2019. Agreement reached for sale of remaining property to Ryan MacKay, owner of Lilac Hedge Farm in Holden. 


Rutland, MA Sustainable food and farming nonprofit, Heifer International, today announced that it had reached an agreement for the sale of the remaining land at the former Heifer Farm in Rutland and Princeton, MA. The working farm and educational center run by the organization for 35 years closed to the public in December 2017. The purchase of this land by Lilac Hedge Farm will rejuvenate the property by continuing its use as a working farm, incorporating their own food and farming educational initiative, while adding more for the local community to enjoy. 

The largest part of the property, covered by an agricultural preservation restriction, was purchased in 2019 by a family member of William Williams. Mr. Williams donated that property to Heifer International in 1983. An agreement has been reached for the sale of the remaining land to Ryan MacKay, owner of Lilac Hedge Farm, a pasture-raised livestock business selling sustainably raised meats and other fresh farm products to customers in the Worcester County, Metro Boston, North Shore and South Shore areas.

“We are grateful to the Rutland community and families in the northeast for their commitment to Heifer International’s mission of ending hunger and poverty here in the United States and around the world by supporting local farmers to build resilient livelihoods,” said Hilary Haddigan, Chief of Mission Effectiveness at Heifer International.

“It was important to us and the community that the property continues to be used in a way that’s consistent with Heifer International’s mission of promoting local, sustainable farming. We believe the farm will be in great hands with Ryan and the Lilac Hedge Farm team. Their mission to produce high quality, pasture-raised meats while protecting the land and surrounding environment is something we wholeheartedly support.”

Once the sale of the land to Lilac Hedge Farm is completed, Heifer International will have sold all of the property that made up the Heifer Farm in Rutland and Princeton, MA.

“At Lilac Hedge Farm, we know the importance of quality food, raised right”, said Ryan MacKay, owner of Lilac Hedge Farm. “We are excited to continue providing sustainable food for local communities and to see our business grow.”

MacKay continued, “As the business has grown, we have made decisions as a team in which areas we wanted to expand, try new ventures, and explore what our individual areas of interest and expertise are. We have the privilege to cultivate an environment that provides much needed resources to the community while also supporting our farm families. The purchase of this property is an opportunity for all of us to bring our dreams together. We can't wait to share this process and growth with everyone.”

To learn more about the work of Heifer International, visit the website or contact media@heifer.org

To learn more about Lilac Hedge Farm, visit the website or contact info@lilachedgefarm.com.


For 76 years, Heifer International has worked with more than 36 million people around the world to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. Working with rural communities in 21 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including the United States, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income.


Lilac Hedge Farm is setting a new standard in pasture-raised livestock farming. We are proud to be bringing to market animal proteins like we used to eat years and years ago. On the farm, we raise beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork and turkey on a pasture-based system from birth to processing. The farm collaborates with other local producers to bring a wide variety of fresh local food to their customers and will greatly expand their offerings in the upcoming year. For information, visit https://lilachedgefarm.com