WASHINGTON — American Farmland Trust, a national leader in protecting agricultural land, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land has announced it has received an award from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to fund Transitioning Land to a New Generation: Preparing Trainers to Help Facilitate Transfer. All together with the award and match, the program’s $750K will go to develop a skills-based curriculum to support a new generation of producers and agricultural landowners as they confront the complex financial, legal and interpersonal issues related to agricultural land and business transfer.
“More than 40 percent of American farmland is owned by seniors aged 65 and older. Given they are at retirement age, the land is likely to change hands in the foreseeable future,” said Julia Freedgood, AFT director of Farms for a New Generation. “At the same time, it is difficult for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to acquire affordable land with appropriate housing and infrastructure due to farm consolidation, appreciation of land values, conversion of farmland to development, and a tight supply of land to purchase or rent. American Farmland Trust is working to bride this gap.”
Connecting a diverse new generation with the right landowners is challenging.
AFT will be working with a national cohort of service providers who support an increasingly diverse new generation of producers and a wide range of landowners including land trusts, Non-farming women landowners, farm families and institutions.
“It takes extra skill to bridge cultural, demographic and production system differences. And it takes extra effort to connect new generation producers with nonoperator landowners, local governments, land trusts, churches, and other institutions who have land and are willing to make it available to them,” said Suzanna Denison, program manager, Farms for a New Generation. “AFT will focus on how to build relationships that foster productive communication skills and help a diverse new generation of producers find secure land options to grow their businesses, feed their communities all while responsibly stewarding the land.”
The project is part of AFT’s on-going effort to ensure a new generation of producers can succeed in agriculture. Building on our 2015 BFRDP project, Farmland for the Next Generation, we will continue to grow an ever-expanding network of skilled professionals who will in turn provide technical assistance and meet growing demands for farm succession facilitation. AFT was also named as a collaborator in the Veteran Farmer Training and Education project with Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Ag, to bring our land access curriculum to military veterans, and will be working with Penn State University on Land Access and Saving for Long Term Assets.
To learn more about this exciting work visit Transitioning Land to a New Generation: Preparing Trainers to Help Facilitate Transfer.
— American Farmland Trust