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Challenges in obesity, diet related diseases, hunger, rising energy costs, a growing population, dwindling water supplies and a changing climate require our attention, and it is our responsibility to lead the way for an advanced 21st century food supply."

— California Department of Food & Agriculture
Keeping Farmers on the Land
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Transitioning land to a new generation

Sustaining local farms and farmland is a sound community investment, as it ensures the public will continue to receive the multiple benefits of agriculture. This involves protecting a strategic land base, providing property tax relief for farmland owners, supporting the business of farming and investing in agricultural and community economic development.


Cultivating the Next Generation: Resources and Policies to Help Beginning Farmers Succeed in Agriculture

Based on a new study released by American Farmland Trust, finding and affording farmland to rent or buy is universally the greatest challenge for beginning farmers to overcome. While many types of resources are available to support the next generation, when it comes to land access, resources have been too far and few between to address this pervasive and persistent challenge.

Despite the challenges, beginners are finding opportunities to enter and succeed in agriculture, often inspired by and taking advantage of the local food movement. Cultivating the Next Generation: Resources and Policies to Help Beginning Farmers Succeed in Agriculture reports on state and federal programs, and profiles 12 beginning farmers to show what it takes for them to succeed.

Download Cultivating the Next Generation [PDF]

Allen Family on farm in Easton, New YorkFarmland Advisors Training Program
The transfer of farms to a new generation is one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture in New York and New England.  Farmland Advisors is a training program to help agriculture and conservation professionals become an effective resource in helping farmers and farmland owners as they seek access to land and navigate the complexity of farm transfers. “Participants learn about everything from farm succession planning to farm linking, lease options and land conservation as a farm transfer strategy,” said Diane Held, Senior New York Field Manager for American Farmland Trust. “Land access and availability are increasingly impacting farms and food systems in the region,” added New England Director Cris Coffin, “Working with professionals across the Northeast will help to meet these challenges at the state level.”  

Find out more about the Farmalnd Advisors program


New England farmNew Project Aims to Keep New England's Farmland in Farming
Building on work done through the New England Commission on Land Conservation and its Farm and Food Security Initiative, American Farmland Trust is bringing together farmland experts from around New England to explore ways in which the region might work collaboratively to keep farmland in farming. The six New England state “Chief Agricultural Officers” and the six state USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Offices are key partners in this effort, as is Land For Good. The project will include a “shop talk” for farmland protection practitioners and a convening for farm and conservation stakeholders, federal and state agencies, and public and private funders. Cris Coffin, New England Director at American Farmland Trust, believes that regional collaboration is critical to retaining and growing the region’s farmland base. “Every state in the region is in some stage of farm and food system planning and, not surprisingly, land access and availability are emerging as key and common needs,” says Coffin. “We will be better able to tackle these challenges at the state level if we learn and work together as a region.”


FC2Farmland ConneCTions: A Guide for Land Leasing

Access to land can be a major obstacle to young and veteran farmers alike. Leasing Farmland from towns, institutions and land trusts provides an opportunity for beginning and expanding farmers to embark on new farm ventures or grow their farm farm businesses. Whether five acres or 100 acres, leased land can help keep farms thriving while creating jobs and providing local food. This guide helps landowners and land seekers think through farm leasing and develop successful lease arrangements: Farmland ConneCTions: Leasing Farmland in Connecticut [PDF]. In addition, two webinars based on the guide cover tenure options, practical and legal considerations in drafting a lease, community farms and risk management options.

Learn more about the guide



Lady FarmerEmpowering Women Landowners to Become Conservation Leaders
During the last several decades, more and more women have been entering agriculture as new farmers, widows or inheritors of farmland. Whether they lease their land to neighboring farmers or operate their own farm or ranch, thousands of women bring a strong conservation and stewardship ethic to managing their land. They are now poised to play a much larger role in U.S. agriculture, marking a historic shift. This demographic change will require a new approach and customized set of tools aimed at educating women landowners today to help them become tomorrow’s conservation leaders.

Learn more about empowering women landowners




American Farmland Trust