We believe that farmland access and tenure must be approached in a comprehensive way that seeks creative solutions at multiple levels. We have put into practice this collaborative, systems approach by working with local, regional and national partners, as well as ‘on the ground’ with individual farmers, farm families and landowners. Selected projects are highlighted here and organized thematically.
Land Access Project (LAP) (2011-2013)
This comprehensive project addressed the farmland access challenge for New England’s beginning farmers from a systems perspective. Over fifty service providers from six New England states collaborated in five task forces: Listing & Linking; Farm Transfer; Non-farming Landowners; Tenure Innovations, and; Coaching Services. Outputs included: a dozen workshops for non-farming landowners; a cross-training for farm transfer advisors; a regional online farm property clearinghouse and upgraded website of farm transfer services; and guides for exiting farmers, next generation farmers, and public and private landowners. Reports on policy innovations, farmland investors and agricultural easements translated research into practical recommendations for improving land access in our region. LAP resulted in improved services and communication about land access and transfer. LAP was supported by the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Read more at the LAP website.
Farmland Access, Succession, Tenure and Stewardship (FarmLASTS) Project (2008 – 2010)
Co-led by LFG and University of Vermont, this national project focused on farm access, tenure and succession. Over two-dozen collaborators including universities, agencies and NGOs from across the country worked in three national teams focused on research, curriculum development, and outreach in three areas: (1) farmland access and tenure for farm entrants; (2) farm succession challenges for exiting farm operators, and; (3) the impacts of tenure and succession arrangements on land use and the environment. An in depth research report concludes with extensive policy and program recommendations. FarmLASTS produced a four-module educational curriculum, an Extension manual, and a national conference for leaders in the field. FarmLASTS was funded by the USDA National Research Initiative. Read more on the FarmLASTS website.
A Focus on Immigrant Farmers
- LFG partnered with Cultivating Community (Portland ME) in 2012 to deliver a workshop and educational materials to Somali and Sudanese immigrant farmers about land access, including how to find land and how to negotiate agreements.
- LFG worked with Nuestras Raices (Holyoke MA) from 2011-2013 to deliver informational workshops, one-on-one assistance and a written guide about finding farmland for immigrant farmers on Nuestras Raices’ La Finca incubator farm in western Massachusetts.
To learn more about our work with immigrant and other special population farmers, contact us.
Focus on Professional Training
LFG is partnering with American Farmland Trust on the Farmland Advisors Project (2012 –2014) to provide professional training, materials and support around farmland access, farm succession and working with farmland owners. Webinars, fact sheets and two days of training are being provided to 90 service providers and land trust personnel in New England and New York. Funded by Northeast SARE Professional Development Program.
To learn more about our professional training and networking activities, contact us.
Western Massachusetts Land Trusts and Working Lands (2008)
LFG led a roundtable meeting and three workshops for western Massachusetts land trusts to promote land trusts’ involvement in working lands conservation projects. Funded by the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition.
To learn more about our work with land trusts and other conservation organizations, contact us.
Focus on Communities
LFG is a partner in the MAGIC Comprehensive Agricultural Planning Project (2012 – 2013), a 13-town regional initiative led by the Metropolitan Area (Massachusetts) Planning Council, Consortium for Sustainable Communities. The Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) enlisted LFG, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, Conservation Law Foundation and Sudbury Valley Trustees and thirteen eastern Massachusetts municipalities to increase the viability of farming and promote sustainable food sheds in the MAGIC sub-region. LFG helped design and conduct a municipal survey and regional forum, and wrote a report chapter with recommendation on land access, farm succession and farm leasing. Funded by US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Town of Middleborough, Massachusetts contracted with LFG (2010 – 2011) to develop strategies to retain the working farmland and rural character of the Thompson Street neighborhood as a heritage agricultural landscape. LFG assisted Thompson Street area farmers and farmland owners to bring or keep their land in active farming. Funded by the Town of Middleborough Planning Department.
As part of the Southeastern MA Agricultural Partnership’s (SEMAP) Farms Forever Project (2006 – 2009), LFG conducted research on farm succession programs, and provided subsidized farm transfer planning services to 10 farmers in Southeast Massachusetts. Three “Where Do I Start…” guides were produced to assist farm seekers, transitioning farm families and landowners to take first steps. Funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and a private foundation.
To learn more about our work with communities, contact us.
Focus on Land Access Training and Support
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association contracted with LFG (2011 – present) to provide education, assistance and support related to land access and tenure to participants in MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program. LFG’s Maine field agent conducted workshops and extensive individual consulting to journeypersons preparing to acquire farmland. Funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program and a private foundation.
Farm Leasing Project (2008 – 2012)
LFG educated over 400 farm seekers throughout New England using a variety of methods including workshops, web resources and direct technical assistance to farm seekers. We developed an online tutorial on farm leasing] and a seven unit online course, Acquiring Your Farm. Funded by grants from the USDA Risk Management Education Program and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Program.
Prairie Crossing Farm Incubator (2011 – present)
In partnership with the Liberty Prairie Foundation (LPF), LFG is delivering five workshops and consulting with farmers and Foundation staff on land access and non-traditional lease agreements. LPF sponsors Prairie Crossing Farm incubator in Grayslake, Illinois. Funded in part by USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
Land Tenure for Farmer Groups (2012- present)
This project investigates alternative models such as group ownership and multiple farmer tenancy for farmers to jointly access land. Background and farmer interviews will lead to recommendations and webinars for farmers and service providers. In partnership with the Greenhorns and Cooperative Development Institute, and funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
To learn more about our work on farm leasing and other alternatives to land ownership, contact us.
Focus on Farm Transfer
Farm Transfer Network of New England (2006 – present)
This project created a regional service network and supporting website that helps farm families find succession and transfer planning assistance and resources. LFG led this collaboration among six New England land grant universities and NGOs. The project produced a searchable online directory of farm transfer advisors and materials. This initiative increased coordination among educators, advisors and other service providers, and made services more visible in the region.
Transferring the Farm Workshops (2006 – 2010)
A multi-year collaboration with Extension educators and others in all six New England states, that provided daylong workshops and follow-up technical assistance on farm transfer and succession. Funded by USDA Risk Management Agency and other funders.
Women and Farm Transfer (2006 – 2008)
LFG partnered with the Cooperative Development Institute, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture and the Women’s Agricultural Network to address the particular challenges faced by women facing a farm transition. An educational curriculum and supporting resource binder were developed and delivered to 170 women in New England through seminars and learning circles. Partners also delivered a train-the-trainer workshop for service providers who work with farm women. Funded by the USDA Farm Service Agency.
To learn more about how we work with farm families and farm transfer advisors and educators, contact us.
- New England Farmland Convening, Portsmouth NH, 2013
- Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust 2013
- Beginning Farmer Learning Network (New England and NY) 2013
- National Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program annual conference 2012
- Drake Agricultural Law Center Forum on Beginning Farmers 2010
- Rhode Island Summit 2010
- Challenges and Opportunities for Massachusetts Agriculture, Massachusetts Association of Agriculture Commissions, 2009
- Farm Succession and Entry, Georgia Organics 2009
- Michigan Land Use Institute 2007
- Risk Management Strategies for Beginning and Small Farmers and Ranchers national conference 2007
- Non-farming Landowners and Farm Seekers, Glynwood Center, NY
- Land Access for Beginning Farmers, Stone Barns Center, NY
- Acquiring Land: Strategies and Options, NOFA Winter Conference, NH
- Challenges and Opportunities for Massachusetts Agriculture Commission, MA
Cold Pond Community Land Trust, Acworth, New Hampshire
Consulting to local nonprofit organization acquiring land for permanently affordable farm use.
Friends of the Farm at Hilltop, Suffield, Connecticut
Historic town-owned farm and barn on 45 acres. Feasibility analysis for adaptive reuses of historic barn and land as working farm and agricultural center.
Stonewall Farm, Keene, New Hampshire
Planning for production greenhouse and learning landscape surrounding it.
KROKA Expeditions, Marlowe, New Hampshire
Assisted nonprofit with land acquisition and permitting for wilderness and agriculture education center.
Herkimer Hill Farm, Cabot, Vermont
Vegetable and wood products, 195 acres. LFG assisting several families developing an ag-oriented cohousing community with all aspects of transfer, land use and development planning.
Dominican Sisters of Mercy, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Recruited farmer for land and house lease on convent property; preparing for easement and eventual transfer.
Steve Normanton Beef, Wilton, New Hampshire
A collaboration between a farmer seeking land and an investor seeking an investment in sustainable agriculture investment. Grass-fed beef operation on leased land. LFG provided site and farmer search technical assistance.
Smolak Farms LLC, Andover, Massachusetts
Planning assistance for phased transfer from owner-operator to successor on a 32 acre vegetable and berry operation.
Mindful Living Initiative, Marlow, New Hampshire
Land use planning and permitting services provided for 225 acre educational and sustainable agriculture oriented community.
Business planning assistance for young farmer in preparation for land acquisition.
North Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Mixed operation with retail outlet on 120 acres. Developed farm transfer assessment, convened team and supported entrants through discussions regarding dividing estate while preserving the farm operation.
Cold Pond Community Land Trust, Acworth, New Hampshire
Vegetable and wood products operation. Prepare transfer plan between current operator to future successor, preserving opportunities for heirs.
Langwater Farm, Easton, Massachusetts
Agricultural ‘revival’ on prime access land. Provided land use and tenure planning, farmer recruiting, negotiations, document development.
Feasibility assessment for acquisition of former farmland by a conservation buyer. In conjunction with river district and Maine Farmland Trust and three LFG associates.
Apple Annie’s, Exeter, New Hampshire
Orchard operation and vegetable CSA on 35 acres. Developed agreement for phased transfer from retiring operators to middle-aged entrants.
Prepared farm transfer plans between parent and daughter and son-in-law.
Vegetable and value-added operation on 38 acres. Assessment and recommendations for transfer within family.
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts
80-acre farm in pumpkins and vegetables. Coaching within the family on transfer and agricultural development options.
Jefferson, New Hampshire
80-acre farm in hay and vegetables, family succession planning.
Colebrook, New Hampshire
350-acre former dairy now in hay and vegetables. Transfer to family trust.
Swanzey, New Hampshire
“Growing Our Own” agricultural education project for high school students. Strategic and financial planning for land acquisition and program development.
Monadnock Region Farm Opportunity and Legacy Project, New Hampshire
Broad–based project involving land trust, conservation district and university. Engaged farm seekers, farmers and non-farming landowners (including the county) to promote active agriculture.
Cheshire County Conservation District, New Hampshire
Initiating feasibility analysis for former county farm and jail as long term agricultural resource and adaptive reuse of jail, in part, as affordable farm worker housing.
Christmas tree farm on 20 acres of 175 acre total to be placed in trust with residual funds from sale of development rights “endowing” long term farm viability for successor.
Cornucopia Project, Hancock, New Hampshire
A farm education project dedicated to teaching sustainable and nourishing life practices to children and young adults by connecting them to the land and community through organic gardening.
River Valley Farm, Lenox, Massachusetts
Farm transfer and financial planning with master sheep farmer, CSA operator, and farm store operator.
Teal Farm, Rochester, Massachusetts
Intergenerational succession planning on diversified operation.
The Herb Hill Micro-Dairy, Andover, Massachusetts
Advised farmer during grazing lease negotiation with conservation commission.
Consultation with private owner starting retirement vegetable operation.
Rhode Island Consultation with land trust organization on ag-land program planning.