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Helping the next generation of farmers

Letter To The Editor,
Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners (MOF&G) News —

In my role as Field Agent with Land For Good, I have the good fortune to be assisting a number of bright, enthusiastic new farmers with their farmland searches. Due to the pandemic, Maine (and New England) has become an even more attractive place to live and real estate prices have increased over the last 18 months. This has had the unintended consequence of limiting access to farmland for new and beginning farmers.

Many new farmers are looking for a small amount of acreage (less than 10 tillable acres) for crop production or to run a seasonal livestock operation.

As you drive through your community or walk through your own fields, do you see places where a new farmer might get a start? Or, are you a farmer with land or infrastructure that is currently underutilized?

If so, there are many ways to help the next generation of farmers secure land access — from a lease arrangement with modest payments to fostering a “spin-off” enterprise or “incubating” a new farm.

Such a spin-off enterprise might utilize farm infrastructure that you’re not using year-round, such as a greenhouse, or may complement your own business, like adding a layer flock, while providing a new farmer experience and lower financial risk while they manage their start-up.

A spin-off enterprise may be entirely separate from your business or could be an opportunity to incubate a new farm on your own land. A farm that is incubating may benefit from your knowledge, may pay you for use of your equipment and would likely thrive with the added bonus of camaraderie that may be lacking for someone just starting out on their own.

If any of these options sound appealing to you or you know of farmland that is available in your community in Maine or throughout New England, please reach out to me or visit landforgood.org/toolbox for more information.

Warmly,

Abby Sadauckas
Maine Field Agent, Land For Good

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Land For Good (LFG), based in Keene NH, is a New England-wide not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the future of farming in the region by putting more farmers more securely on more land. With field agents serving all New England states, LFG educates, consult, innovates and advocates with and for farm seekers, established farmers, farmland owners, and communities. LFG is the only organization of its kind, nationally, with a sole focus on farmland access, transfer, and tenure.  Learn more at landforgood.org.

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