Land Access Project

Phase 1

Land access is a top challenge for beginning farmers. This three-phase, multi-year Land Access Project (LAP) helped more beginning farmers across New England to successfully access land to start or expand their farm business.

In Phase 1 or LAP1 (2010-2013), 60 project partners from over 30 organizations collaborated to strengthen land access services, programs and policies throughout New England.

Project Outcomes

  • At least 800 beginning farmers improved their readiness to acquire farms
  • 110 non-farming landowners learned about making their land available for farming in eleven workshops across six states
  • Over 300 transitioning farmers received guidance from project advisors
  • An innovative new online regional farm property clearinghouse was launched & helped over 4,000 farm seekers & landowners find each other in the first year
  • Over 100 service providers acquired information and skills related to farmland access, tenure & transfer
  • Policymakers & advocates acquired well researched ideas for public policy reform & innovation to mitigate farmland access challenges for beginning farmers

Tools, Guides & Reports

LAP partners created several guides for exiting farmers, next generation farmers, and public and private landowners, as well as educators and advisors:

A farm property posting site was launched through the support of this project. New England Farmland Finder is a free, searchable online farm property clearinghouse that enables landowners and seekers to find resources — and each other.

The project also upgraded and expanded the Farm Transfer Network of New England website that features farm transfer advisors, services and resources.

Land For Good developed a free online course, Acquiring Your Farm with seven modules, plus worksheets and links for farm seekers.

Education, Training & Advising

LAP sponsored over a dozen workshops for non-farming landowners throughout New England, and a cross-training for farm transfer advisors. These sessions educated more than 200 farmers, landowners and agricultural service providers about legal, financial and practical aspects of acquiring and transferring farmland.

The following reports on policy innovations, farmland investors and agricultural easements translated research into practical recommendations for improving farmland access in our region:

In May 2013, we partnered with American Farmland Trust on a day-long policy convening for 100 invited professionals and policy makers – including state commissioners of agriculture – on New England farmland preservation and access. Many of the project’s key findings were presented and discussed at this event.

Task Forces

Partners worked in five task forces to tackle land access issues from a systems perspective.

  1. Listing & Linking Task Force focused on improving how farm seekers and farmland holders find one another.
  2. Farm Transfer Task Force focused on increasing successful farm transfers from retiring to entering farmers.
  3. Non-farming Landowners Task Force focused on supporting private, institutional and public non-farming landowners to make land available for beginning farmers.
  4. Tenure Innovations Task Force focused on promoting innovative farmland access and tenure models, agreements and policies.
  5. Coaching Task Force focused on building Land For Good’s consulting services for farm seekers, farm transfer families and non-farming landowners.

Thanks to these LAP partners and collaborators (listed by Task Force):

Linking and Listing

  • Sue Phinney, TF Leader
  • Jane Slupecki, Connecticut Department of Agriculture
  • Nina Young, Maine Farmland Trust
  • Becca Weaver, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
  • Kate Donald, NH Sustainable Ag Coalition
  • Gail McWillilam Jellie, NH Department of Agriculture
  • India Burnett Farmer, RAFFL
  • Tara Kelly, RAFFL
  • Erica Fearn, former Land For Good
  • John Harker, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
  • Adrian Wadsworth, Realtor
  • Ben Bowell, American Farmland Trust
  • Ben Waterman, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Chelsea Bardot Lewis, VT Agency of Agriculture
  • Erica Buswell, Maine Farmland Trust

Farm Transfer Network

  • Bob Bernstein, former Land For Good
  • Gary Anderson, University of Maine Extension
  • Kate Kerman, Small & Beginner Farmers of NH
  • Mike Sciabarrasi, UNH Cooperative Extension
  • Jon Jaffe, Farm Credit East
  • Paul Dillon, Attorney
  • Jerry Cosgrove, Attorney
  • Annette Lorraine, Attorney
  • Rick Chandler, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
  • Donald Sienkiewicz, Attorney
  • Sarah Cogswell, SEMAP
  • Katie Cavanaugh, SEMAP
  • Adriana Elliot, Cheshire Mediation

 Non-farming Landowners

  • Pete Westover, Conservation Works, TF Leader
  • Ben Bowell, American Farmland Trust
  • Jiff Martin, University of CT Extension
  • Rupert Friday, RI Land Trust Coalition
  • Ben Waterman, UVM Center for Sustainable Ag.
  • Mike Ghia, Land For Good
  • Michal Lumsden, NOFA MA
  • Bill Duesing, NOFA CT
  • Cris Coffin, American Farmland Trust
  • Kip Kolisinskas, American Farmland Trust
  • Sally Mole, Landowner
  • Amy Calandrella, Nuestras Raices

Tenure Innovations

  • Bob Wagner, TF Leader
  • Alex Wylie, VT Land Trust
  • Andrew Marshall, MOFGA
  • Rick Chandler, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
  • Chelsea Bardot, Lewis Vermont Agency of Agriculture
  • Julie Rubaud, Intervale Center
  • Nancy Everhart, VT Housing and Conservation Board
  • Cris Coffin, American Farmland Trust
  • Kenneth Miller, Attorney
  • Donald Sienkiewicz, Attorney
  • Jim Oldham, Equity Trust
  • Rebecca Fletcher, Equity Trust
  • Rupert Friday, RI Land Trust Council
  • Jiff Marti,n University of CT Extension
  • Jerry Cosgrove, Attorney
  • Bill Duesing, NOFA CT

 Attorney and Consultant Team

  • William Dakin, Attorney
  • Jerry Cosgrove, Attorney
  • Paul Dillon, Attorney
  • Sue Hay, Haywood Search LLC
  • Annette Lorraine, Attorney
  • Kenneth Miller, Attorney
  • Donald Sienkiewicz, Attorney

Land For Good Project Staff

  • Kathy Ruhf, former Project Director
  • Barb Jackson, former Operations Manager
  • Roe-Ann Tasoulas, former Communications Director
  • Jan Mackey, Business Manager
  • Mike Ghia, Vermont Field Agent
  • Melissa Blindow, former New Hampshire Field Agent
  • Jo Barrett, former Maine Field Agent
  • Michal Lumsden, copyeditor
  • Sirius Design, graphics

LAP1 was supported by a grant from the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (NIFA #2010-03067). Learn more:

PO Box 625
Keene, New Hampshire 03431
Phone: 603-357-1600