At the historic Sullivan Farm on Route 202 in New Milford, local teens have learned both a love of the land and discipline that will serve them well in any future career they might choose, according to civic leaders.

The farm, dating back to 1841 and purchased by the town in 1997, is a self-sustaining operation under Mark Mankin, New Milford Youth Agency's executive director.

Youth Agency teens are hired to do everything -- drive tractors, plant vegetables and make maple syrup and other products they sell along with produce at their on-your-honor farm stand. The Youth Agency says its ability to manage the farm and its more than 20 other youth-employment and empowerment programs has reached its limit.

Since December, Mayor Patricia Murphy -- with the support of the Town Council -- has been working with the Friends of Sullivan Farm Inc., a local 13-member, nonprofit organization that has proposed taking over the farm's management.

Under the group's original proposal, the town would retain ownership of the farm and maintain the farm equipment.

On June 27, during an hour-long, closed-door session, the Town Council reviewed terms of a proposed lease agreement the mayor had negotiated with the organization's leaders.

No decisions were made, but council members agreed to have the matter on their agenda Monday for discussion and a possible vote.

"They're being careful and taking their responsibility seriously,'' said Julie Bailey, one of the organization leaders who also serves on the town Farmland Preservation Committee.