New Hampshire agriculture is in the midst of a renaissance with older farmers looking to transfer their farm to another generation of farmers, young people graduating from sustainable agriculture programs and looking for land to farm, and non-farmers purchasing abandoned farms with the idea of buying protection from development and wanting to promote open space. The challenge is connecting all these groups to maintain a vibrant agricultural economy in the state. (NH Weekly Market Bulletin, Concord, 3-3-2021)
In New Hampshire, as across New England, there’s a critical need to keep active farmland in farming. Recently a few members of the Boscawen Agricultural Commission participated in an online program about land conservation and became concerned about the lack of efforts in New Hampshire to connect farmers with land. They reached out to us to see if Land For Good’s programs and services would fit their mission. With field staff in each New England state, we provide one-on-one advising to farmers to help them get onto, hold, or transfer farmland.
New England Farmland Finder, a “farm linking” website that we established and manage with state collaborators, helps farm seekers and farm property owners across the region find each other. For many new and established farmers, simply finding available land is a huge challenge. At the same time, more and more private, public and organizational landowners want to make land available for farming but struggle to connect with prospective farmers.
“We have an aging farm owner population and it is good to have a mechanism for joining some of those wanting to retire from farming to young people who have the energy and enthusiasm to get into farming and just need a chance,” explained John Porter, UNH Extension Professor/Specialist, Emeritus.
The need to connect farm seekers with transitioning farmers and non-farming landowners is greater than ever. With over 4,400 subscribed farm seekers and 93,000 users last year, New England Farmland Finder is the region’s #1 farm linking website. Nationally, over fifty programs deliver “farm link” services of various descriptions. Most manage property posting websites. Some facilitate transactions between parties. Many also provide educational activities and resources, and several include property assessment, farm succession advising, and beginning farmer training. Read more on our Blog from the national farm link clinic: Farm link programs share what works & make improvements.
As a member of the New England Farm Link Collaborative, we work in partnership with farm link programs and land access services in the region that collectively provide a variety of farmland access support services – and oversee New England Farmland Finder. Through cross-postings of farm opportunities, referrals to specialists, joint educational programming and collaborative outreach, these providers build awareness and connections to support farm seekers, farmers and landowners of all types in all New England states. The members of the New England Farm Link Collaborative include state farm link sites in Maine, Vermont and Connecticut. In other states, Land For Good actively works with collaborators to promote the site and its role in connecting farm seekers with property owners.
We are excited to work with the Boscawen Agricultural Commission and pleased that they acknowledge the critical need for these services to help keep New Hampshire’s farmland in farming. They are also collaborating with other agricultural commissions and agricultural groups to publicize these services.
Learn more about farm link programs.