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Welcome to Acquiring Your Farm

Overview and Registration

Acquiring Your Farm (AYF) is a free, online tutorial, for aspiring, new and beginning farmers – and others – preparing to access farmland. AYF contains lessons organized around seven topics and designed to provide a thorough introduction to the complex issues of farmland access and tenure. Here’s what you’ll learn:

Lesson 1Farmland Tenure BasicsHow farmland is acquired and held, U.S. trends, and land tenure principles.
Lesson 2Financial AssessmentDetermining the financial parameters of acquiring a farm, the financial implications of leasing vs. ownership, financing a farm purchase, special situations and conservation easements.
Lesson 3Owning FarmlandThe pros, cons and implications of owning farmland, alternative ownership approaches, home ownership basics as it relates to farm ownership, and the purchase process.
Lesson 4Finding FarmlandHow to plan and conduct a farm search, assess farm properties, and adjust your business plan to your land base.
Lesson 5Leasing FarmlandThe pros and cons of leasing farmland, types of leases, drafting a lease and determining rent, and the types of landlords and how to be a good tenant.
Lesson 6Communication & NegotiationThe keys to successful communication, your communication style, skills for effective negotiation, and how to communicate with your landlord.
Lesson 7Community PartnersExploring the range of community partners – and how to work with them – to gain access to farmland.

AYF also contains a curated collection of resources that will help you answer some of the most critical questions facing all farmers seeking to access farmland; questions like:

  • Is leasing or purchasing farmland (or a combination) the best option for me?  
  • What’s the best farm property for my situation?
  • How do I finance my farm acquisition? 
  • How do I effectively work with landowners, landlords and other folks in the community?

By using AYF, you’ll gain new knowledge, learn how to apply it, and be better prepared to make sound land acquisition choices. Simple worksheets are provided to help you assess your situation and to systematically develop a well thought-out action for acquiring your plan for your farm acquisition.

AYF is free and available to anyone. Simply register below to access the tutorial.

Register or Log In

IMPORTANT: To complete the registration process and your initial log in, you will need to click on the link in an email that you’ll receive from Don’t forget to search your spam folder for this email.

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AYF 2.0  has been supported in part by grants from The Cedar Tree Foundation, The John Merck Fund and Farm Aid.

Special thanks to the farmers, farm seekers and community partners who provided input and “pilot tested” early prototypes, and the hundreds of AYF users have used and provided  feedback on a previous version. The following organizations generously granted permission to reproduce or adapt their materials: University of Vermont’s FarmLASTS project;  New England Small Farm Institute,  A Legal Guide to the Business of Farming in Vermont; and Farm Credit East.

The first version of AYF was supported in part by grants from the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education (NECRME) under Award Number 2010-49200-22787 and by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) under Award Number CNE10-082. NECRME and SARE are parts of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.