A farmer’s personal reflection on transferring the farm

I have loved two farms, the farm where I grew up in Connecticut, and the farm I live on now in Massachusetts. Back in their early days, everyone farmed to subsist. Stories of work horses pulling hay wagons and picnics in the hayfields filled my childhood.

I assumed there would always be farms and lots of open space for romping and daydreaming, but the reality now, half a century later, is that farms are disappearing rapidly and along with them the benefits of local agriculture. Yet, there are people with the desire to farm running in their veins who are seeking land to work, and there are landowners who would love to keep their land in the open spaces of fields and forests but don’t know how they can do it.

Several years back, my husband and I began to realize that as our ages were creeping up, we needed to address the question of farm succession to our next generation.

Fortunately, we learned of an organization called Land for Good and signed up for their Farm Succession School. For us, it has kicked off a long-term relationship that is guiding and inspiring us through the process of gradually transferring our farm to our two sons in legal, financial, communicational, organizational and interpersonal ways. For farmers without a next generation to pass the farm along, this organization has matched land seekers with landowners to make farms more viable. More importantly, they helped us understand who we are and want to be as a farm and recognize ways that we can share what we consider our good fortune with others.

As the world gets more complex, knowing who to turn to for trusted experience and expertise becomes more and more vital. Land for Good has partnered with a rich palate of advisors that includes field agents, lawyers, financial advisors, agriculturalists, and more. If you’re thinking about the future of your farm, there are people out there – and organizations like Land For Good – to help meet your farm and family goals.

Land for Good’s collective variety of resources and their determination to spend unhurried time to tailor possibilities and solutions to individual situations can make all the difference in so many ways:

  • between losing a cherished farm or finding a way to keep it in viable agriculture,
  • between giving up on a dream of being able to fulfill a passion and aptitude for farming or carving out a unique way to find and afford the land needed to farm,
  • between ignoring the roadblocks that individuals and groups face in becoming farmers thus depriving the community of their knowledge, skill and foodways or encouraging people of diverse cultures to enter the farming profession,
  • between feeling totally detached from food production and security or knowing the people who grow your food and trusting their methods and their ability to keep a supply chain open in tough times,
  • between watching open spaces disappear without careful consideration of the loss of the precious connection between people and the land or living in a community that has the opportunity to bond with its farms of all sizes and find its roots in its farmland.
photo credit Cordelia's Farm

Where I stand on these choices is why I support Land for Good. I am indebted to them for the ways they help us personally, as my family navigates farming in 2020, and I am indebted to them for giving us the opportunity to contribute to farming successes and quality of life of others.

I hope you will join me in supporting the work of Land for Good.

~ Janet Woodward, Farmer & LFG Board member

P.S. If you believe in the many benefits of local agriculture, consider supporting this organization with a donation of any kind.

Meet Janet

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