ITHACA, N.Y. — For almost a decade, farmers in the Finger Lakes region who need access to land, and landowners who want their unused acreage to be farmed, could be matched through Finger Lakes LandLink, a free searchable database launched in 2013 by the Cornell Cooperative Extension South Central NY Agriculture Program and the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming in Ithaca, NY.
As of January 1, 2022, this important role will be taken on by the American Farmland Trust (AFT), a national conservation agriculture organization that has supported Finger Lakes LandLink for the past several years. Profiles of current Finger Lakes LandLink users who wish to continue with the service now are being migrated to the statewide New York Farmland Finder platform, run by AFT’s Farmland for a New Generation New York program.
“New York Farm Finder reaches a broader audience than Finger Lakes LandLink and will offer enhanced functionality and a more responsive user experience,” says Graham Savio, Agriculture Leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins). “The two platforms work in very similar ways, and we believe users will enjoy many additional advantages resulting from this change,” he concluded.
The initial Finger Lakes Landlink pilot began in fall 2013 in Cortland, Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins Counties with the long-term goals of increasing successful farm enterprises, keeping land actively farmed, growing the local food economy, and fostering transitions from leased farmland to farm ownership. Built with initial funds from Cornell Cooperative Extension and a USDA Beginning Farmer Grant secured by Groundwell, the project ultimately expanded to Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne & Yates Counties, encompassing all 14 counties that comprise the Finger Lakes region. Groundswell staff and CCE Agriculture agents in participating counties providing consulting and resources to help facilitate the matching process.
“Finger Lakes LandLink and New York State Farmfinder were started at roughly the same time,” says Monika Roth, retired Ag Leader at CCE-Tompkins who oversaw the LandLink project. “We’ve always directed visitors to AFT resources and our goal since the beginning has been to merge these two sites to better serve New York’s farmers. It’s great to see this project come full circle”, she reflected.
New York landowners who are interested in having their land farmed through leasing, selling or sharing their land with a farmer, and beginning or established farmers who are seeking land to start or expand their agricultural enterprise, are encouraged to visit https://nyfarmlandfinder.org/ or reach out to their local Cornell Cooperative Extension Agriculture Agent for support.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County