From the desk of Kathy Ruhf, Executive Director:
Leadership transition is as critical for organizations as it is for farm businesses. Here at Land For Good, we’ve been laying the groundwork for our leadership transition for nearly two years. At my instigation, our board and staff began working together in 2013 to bring a new leader to LFG, effective January 1, 2015.
I believe in timely and thoughtful succession for LFG, just as we encourage with farm families. I’m happy to hand over the Executive Director reins to Jim Hafner, former Deputy Director, and to concentrate my contributions as a Senior Program Director. I couldn’t be more pleased about our process and outcome.
We hired Jim nearly two years ago. Those of you who know Jim will understand the excitement I felt welcoming him to LFG. Jim is a natural leader, with both academic and practical experience with land tenure and farming. He has years of program and management experience in non-profit organizations, expertise in fund development and communications, and exceptional organizational skills.
Letting go isn’t easy. And, like many senior farmers, I’m not ready to be put out to pasture! Often the best succession scenario keeps the “senior” engaged, while empowering new leadership. In my new role, I’ll continue to oversee our three program areas and the discrete projects—16 at last count—that complement our direct services. I’ll also continue as our southern New England Field Agent.
We have a very strong staff and Board. In the past quarter, we added two new staff members. Our Board of Directors completed its own smooth leadership transfer to a new president. Early this year a board-staff transition team put together a plan, culminating in a seamless staffing shift effective January 1, 2015. All this bodes well for LFG’s future.
Ten years ago, I was invited by LFG’s founders to join the organization. When we began our work on farmland access, tenure and transfer there was scarcely any recognition of these topics – let alone resources specific to our region. Over the ensuing decade, land access became an issue of priority concern among all farm and food system stakeholders in New England and nationally.
My work on farm tenure began in 1987, and I continue to learn more about it all the time. It’s exciting and rewarding for me to connect with partners, funders and communities on this critical work, and I look forward to more!
Looking ahead, LFG will continue to improve farm tenancy and paths to farm ownership, farm succession planning, and services to farmland owners. We will support communities and policymakers, and contribute tools, resources and our innovative spirit. Personally, I am deeply grateful to be a part of Land For Good and our stellar community of colleagues.
Here’s to more of our good work together in 2015.