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. This page highlights selected Land For Good (LFG) projects under the following themes:
- Regional Systems Change and Research
- Immigrant Farmers
- Professional Training
- Land Access Training and Support
- Farm Transfer
Regional Systems Change and Research
- 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, coordination and communication about land access and transfer throughout New England. LAP was supported by the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Read more about the Land Access Project.
- 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.
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 agriculture service providers in New England and New York. Participants represent land trusts, beginning farmer organizations, extension offices, lending institutions and local and state agencies. Funded by Northeast SARE Professional Development Program and a Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancment grant. Read about the January 2014 two day advisors conference.
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
- MAGIC Comprehensive Agricultural Planning Project (2012 – 2013). LFG is a partner in this 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.
- Southeastern MA Agricultural Partnership’s (SEMAP) Farms Forever Project (2006 – 2009). As part of this project 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.
- The Farm Leasing Project (2008 – 2012) 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.
- The Prairie Crossing Farm Incubator (2011 – present). LFG is partnered with the Liberty Prairie Foundation (LPF) to deliver five workshops and is 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.
- The 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 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The project produced a searchable online directory of farm transfer advisors and materials. This initiative increased coordination among educators, advisors and other farm transfer service providers and advisors, and made services more visible in the region. Visit the FTTNE website.
- Transferring the Farm Workshops (2006 – 2010). This multi-year collaboration with Extension educators and others in all six New England states provided daylong workshops and follow-up technical assistance on farm transfer and succession. Funded by USDA Risk Management Agency and other funders. Read about the project in “New England Workshops Increase Participant Knowledge of Farm Transfer Issues” in the Journal of Extension (April 2009).
- 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 educators, advisors and other 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.