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Land for Farmers

Training and Technical Assistance to Achieve Farmland Access for Beginning Farmers across New England

September 2021 – August 2024

This work is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program [grant no. 2021-49400-35642] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Land access continues to be a top challenge for beginning farmers. Our newest initiative – Land for Farmers – builds from our previous collaborations and endeavors to develop new training, expand advising, and improve resources and tools for farmers and landowners. It will also be an opportunity to learn further with our partners about how best to support the variety of beginning farmer communities in our region. This initiative will work with beginning farm enterprises of all sizes, enterprises and growing practices within the six states of New England. 

The project’s guiding purpose is for more beginning farmers in New England to start or expand their farm business through successful access to land by purchase or secure tenure agreements. 

Anticipated Impacts

Over the course of this three year project, we anticipate:

  • 3,400 beginning farmers in New England will gain knowledge, skills and improve their ability to access farmland and improve their tenure security; 
  • 350 beginning farmers – including 45 farmers of color – will gain more secure land tenure;
  • 60 farmers will be better able to transfer farms to the next-generation, within or beyond their family; 
  • Increased collaboration among – and capacity of – service providers within New England to serve and support farmers’ successful access to land; and 
  • Greater regional and national awareness of land access methods to help farmers, professionals and communities solve land access challenges.

Goals & Activities

This project has four goals. We will be working on these goals simultaneously, with activities in each occurring for the length of the project.

Goal 1:  Upgrade the New England Farmland Finder website (NEFF) to better link farmers with available land opportunities.

  • Collect community and user feedback on the current NEFF site. 
  • Implement technology upgrades to the site incorporating improvements and new features, such as the ability of farm seekers to create a profile to advertise their needs. 
  • Host an annual webinar series for landowners on making their land available for farming. 
  • Strengthen collaboration, cross referrals and communication of New England Farm Link Collaborative members (Vermont LandLink, Maine FarmLink, Connecticut FarmLink and LFG).

Goal 2:  Enhance beginning farmers’ knowledge, resources and support to access land and improve tenure across New England.

  • Develop and deliver an annual, virtual training course for farmland seekers. It will engage a cohort of beginning farmers to explore tenure options, define their goals, and create a farm search plan. 
  • Update, improve and add resources to LFG’s online toolboxes. New resources may include additional fact sheets, blog posts, and guides on topics such as group land holding, scaling-up urban production, and accessing farmland as a successor generation.
  • Present farmland access and tenure workshops across New England. 
  • Offer individualized technical assistance for beginning farmers and landowners. 

Goal 3:  Improve farmland access and tenure opportunities in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires.

  • Respond to the confluence of beginning farmer opportunity, farm succession needs, and increased land prices in Berkshire County, MA in partnership with American Farmland Trust’s New England Program.
  • Design and deliver succession planning and beginning farmer workshops.
  • Host a Farm Succession School for senior generation operators.
  • Pilot a Next Generation Farm Succession School for younger operators interested in succession on a family or non-related farm.
  • Offer individualized technical assistance for beginning farmers and landowners.

Goal 4:  Increase the number of farmers of color who have secure land tenure in southern New England.

  • Improve the ecosystem of support for farmers of color in partnership with Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (NEFOC LT), Southern New England Farmer of Color Collective and World Farmers.
  • Design and deliver training specifically for and with various communities of color in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Offer technical assistance for beginning farmers of color and landowners in conjunction with partners.

Project Team

We can not do this work alone! There is much to do and learn. We are grateful for new and continued collaborations that strengthen our team effort and advance the work that needs to be done. 

Core Partners:

Collaborators: