​Farmland for the Next Generation

Helping Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Secure Affordable Farmland

Success for the next generation of farmers and ranchers depends on whether they can secure suitable land to start and expand their operations. Farmland for the Next Generation is American Farmland Trust’s nationwide project to address this critical issue.

AFT is partnering with the nation’s leading experts in land access and farmland transition to serve as an Educational Enhancement Team. Working with an external evaluator and curriculum designer, we have assessed existing curricula and resources and are developing a comprehensive, new curriculum to give beginning farmers and ranchers practical knowledge and skills needed to gain access to land and secure land tenure. We are delivering the curriculum to a core group of agricultural educators and service providers. These trainers represent the start of a nationwide network to support beginning farmers and ranchers as they sort through the financial, legal and technical challenges of gaining access to land.

Land Access Trainers

AFT selected 25 experienced agricultural educators and service providers from across the country to serve as the inaugural class of Land Access Trainers. We received more than 100 applications through a competitive process from trainers who wanted to test and validate the new curriculum with the diverse beginning farmers and ranchers they work with and then help us deliver trainings to other trainers. 

To learn more about this talented, passionate and diverse group of professionals check out the Land Access Trainer Directory.

Performance-based Curriculum

AFT is working with a professional curriculum designer, Worldwide Instructional Design System, to design a performance-based curriculum. This approach focuses on what people need to be able to do as a result of a learning experience not just on what they need to know. It addresses three paths to land access: leasing, purchasing and receiving land through inheritance or gift, along with finding and assessing land, and the basic financial skills needed to make informed land access decisions. Each module includes a key competency and supporting learning objectives. Workshops incorporate hands-on activities to reinforce new content. AFT also consulted with a range of subject experts to help develop content and identify key resources.

AFT has delivered three in person trainings with the LATs to introduce the teaching approach and new curriculum. We hosted a kick-off gathering in Denver, Colorado, to initiate our network and vet an early draft of the curriculum, followed by in person trainings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Albany, New York. The LATs will pilot and evaluate the curriculum between March and November 2018. AFT will take all the feedback, make final revisions and work with the LATs to deliver train-the-trainer trainings in 2019.

Please direct questions about Farmland for the Next Generation to the project leaders:

  • Julia Freedgood, Assistant Vice President of Programs, jfreedgood@farmland.org or 413-586-9330 x11 
  • Jennifer Dempsey, Director of the Farmland Information Center, jdempsey@farmland.org or 413-586-9330 x13

Visit American Farmland Trust's Farmland Information Center website for resources for beginning farmers and ranchers. 

Farmland for the Next Generation is supported by a 4-year Educational Enhancement grant from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Award# 2015-70017-23901.

This project is also supported by Farm Credit. Farm Credit is a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions and specialized service organizations that provide loans and other services to agriculture and rural communities.

American Farmland Trust also thanks the Farmland for the Next Generation Educational Enhancement Team and the members of American Farmland Trust for their support.