To further its farmland access, tenure and transfer work in New Hampshire, Land For Good announced that NH-native Cara Cargill, of Holderness, joined the organization as its Field Agent in NH. Land For Good is a New England-wide nonprofit based in Keene whose mission is to put more farmers more securely on more land.
Securing affordable, high-quality farmland is a challenge that Cargill fully appreciates after spending several years searching for a suitable horse farm in New Hampshire. With extensive training and a graduate degree in mediation (Woodbury Institute at Champlain College), she also works as the Outreach Coordinator and mediator for the New Hampshire Agricultural Mediation Program (NHAMP).
More farms are sprouting up across the state. Though the total number of farms in the U.S. has decreased by 4.3% since 2007, NH has seen an increase of 5.4% (Census of Agriculture) in farms and farmland. NH ranks among the top 5 states in the U.S. as percentage of farms selling directly to retailers.
While New England as a whole bucks the national trend of declining farms, farmers across the region still face the daunting challenge of securing access to land, and an aging farming population faces the challenge of passing on their farmland − and legacy − to the next generation or owner.
Cargill knows first-hand the realities and challenges of farm life.
“It is a labor of love,” says Cargill, “and I have deep appreciation for those who are committed to farming.” She explains, “A love of horses at an early age ultimately led me to managing a large horse farm, and, while it was a dream job for me, like any agricultural operation, I learned a lot about the realities and challenges of farm life.”
Land For Good focuses on helping secure farm legacies and create farming opportunity across the state. As a service partner, Cargill participated with Land For Good in a series of educational events focused on land access for new and beginner farmers. Cargill will now help connect farmers looking for land with landowners that understand the benefits of having their land in agricultural use.
“There is so much going on for us around farmland access and transfer,” says Andrew Marshall, LFG Field and Education Director. “Cara’s proven outreach methods have already helped many farmers across the state. As a long-time NH resident and a trained agricultural mediator, Cara brings a nuanced skill set and deep network to Land For Good. We are excited that she will increase our capacity to serve clients and advisees and further LFG’s mission in our home state.”
Land For Good is a New England-wide not-for-profit organization, that is one of the few nationally specialized in farmland access, tenure and transfer. Its Farm Seekers, Farm Legacy and Working Lands programs educate, innovate, advocate and consult to transform how farmers get on to, hold, and transfer farmland. LFG staff educates and consults with farm seekers, established farmers, landowners, and community stakeholders in all six New England states.