Helping Farmers 'Swipe Right' for Farmland in New York

Erica Goodman

At American Farmland Trust, we care a lot about matchmaking. You might be surprised to hear this, but it is true.

Now, don’t be mistaken. We are not in the game of love.

We are helping farmers find the right land where they can succeed in farming through programs like Farmland for a New Generation New York. Launched last October, in partnership with the State of New York, land trusts, agricultural organizations, and others, Farmland for a New Generation New York is assisting farmers searching for land and supporting landowners and retiring farmers to find just the right match to keep their land in farming and possibly transfer it to a new generation.   

Put another way, we are helping farmers ‘swipe right’ for farmland in New York.

The matchmaking process starts with the Farmland for a New Generation New York  website – www.nyfarmlandfinder.org –  where farmers and farmland owners can create profiles and search for the situation that they are looking for. Farmland owners list their land’s attributes (soil types, farming infrastructure, housing options, etc.), while farmers share their past farming experience and aspirations for the farmland they’re seeking.

No fancy algorithms here. Instead, real life AFT staff act as a first point of contact, supporting farmers and farmland owners throughout their search, from helping to build their online profile to offering resources and guidance as they set out to find their match.  

Importantly, Farmland for a New Generation New York supports farmers and landowners through a network of ‘Regional Navigators.’ These organizations are on-the-ground trainers, coaches and matchmakers for farmers and farmland owners across the state.

This week, AFT and the State of New York announced 20 organizations across New York that have been selected to serve as Regional Navigators, collectively receiving $170,000 in grant funds to support the important role they play in helping farmers find land.

The Resource Center and Regional Navigators go hand-in-hand, offering both convenient access to useful information and customized support to facilitate successful matches.

Ultimately, a farmer needs to do more than just ‘swipe right’ to find the right property to manage, lease or purchase. Programs like Farmland for a New Generation New York offer help in clarifying goals, developing solid farming plans, finding the right farm property, and getting the right help to get on land and start farming. 

This takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Together, the partners in Farmland for a New Generation New York are enabling farmers to make the right connections, and ensuring greater opportunities for farming across the state.    

If you care as much about farmland matchmaking as AFT and our partners do, please help spread the word about this exciting program. Share our Facebook post or send this blog post to a friend. There are nearly 200 farmers seeking land on the site – help us find their farm!