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Digging into land access at the NOFA summer conference

By Rachel Murray, CT Field Agent, Land For Good

Rachel Murray, LFG Connecticut Field Agent and farmer

I was happy to present a workshop, along with Kathy Ruhf, at the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s (NOFA) Summer Conference at UMass Amherst last month on “Finding, Assessing & Securing Farmland.” The mix of participants was impressive: land seekers at the beginning of their journey, land owners looking for information on how a farmer might be able to use their land, real estate agents, farmers focused on communal living and alternative ways to access farmland, and others interested in how to secure farmland or make it available. Our workshop attendees were a captive audience! They asked a range of thoughtful questions exemplifying the strong desire and interest to secure farmland throughout the Northeast.

NOFA-MA Workshop

We discussed the many challenges land seekers face and introduced innovative ways to find, assess & secure farmland.

During this workshop we covered the challenges land seekers often face in today’s reality; a comparative analysis of owning vs. leasing, and the key considerations that must be included in a lease (which prompted a lively lessor vs. lessee role playing discussion among attendees); assessing a property and factors to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to farm a particular parcel; and the various search modes available to find and advertise farmland in the Northeast. Since there is not a comprehensive “one stop shopping” database available for farmland, land seekers and land owners must be aware of the different “farm link” websites, such as New England Farmland Finder, New England Land Link, and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, to name a few. Read our FAQ about farm link programs, which also has links to other national sites.

It was great to present at this well-attended and progressive minded NOFA Conference. As land seekers and landowners continue to work towards securing more farmland for farmers, Land For Good is prepared for and invested in a more sustainable food system throughout New England. We look forward to continuing the conversation and working with you to make more farmland available.

Join the conversation or help spread the word as we work to put more farmers more securely on more land in New England. Check out the many resources in our Toolbox for Farm Seekers.

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