Progress report for PDP20-002

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $74,903.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2023
Grant Recipients: American Farmland Trust; PCC Farmland Trust; Viva Farms
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Courtney Naumann
American Farmland Trust
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Project Information

Abstract:

AFT’s Farmland for the Next Generation Training in the Pacific Northwest will use a collaborative project team including PCC Farmland Trust and Viva Farms to develop curriculum and professionally train a cohort of a minimum of 20 certified trainers in Washington State in land access, land tenure, and succession planning. The curriculum will then be delivered to a minimum of 200 new and beginning farmers and ranchers. This curriculum and training format is unique and in demand, as it comprehensively focuses on topic areas which are not currently readily accessible as professional development opportunities to those serving the state’s stewards of private lands. The project team will recruit participants in this cohort training program who are farmers and ranchers, as well as from agricultural service provider organizations and agencies, including Cooperative Extension Service programs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Conservation Districts, and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The project team will adapt AFT’s national 8-unit land access training curriculum in accordance with the specific needs of farmers and ranchers in Washington in order to best serve their interests in land protection, sustaining multi-generational operations, and stewarding land. Upon completion of their training, the 20 trainers will each deliver two workshop trainings to new and beginning farmers and ranchers and will achieve certification as Land Access Trainers (LATs). Trainers will become part of a growing network of certified professionals in the Pacific Northwest region who can effectively deliver content to help new and beginning farmers and ranchers navigate land tenure and access. The project will be expanded in subsequent phases beyond this grant to other states in the region as AFT and its partners continue to help new and beginning farmers and ranchers meet their goals in accessing land and managing their operations and land sustainably.

Project Objectives:

The objectives of Farmland for the Next Generation Training in the Pacific Northwest are:

  1. Enhance the capacity of a network of agricultural educators and service providers by providing training and certifying 20 new Land Access Trainers (LATs) who will become part of a growing network of LATs in Washington.
  2. Increase land access for new and beginning farmers and ranchers in Washington by supporting LATs in training 200 new and beginning farmers and ranchers and helping them assess their goals and financial readiness to lease or buy land, understand ways to identify available farmland, and evaluate farm lease or purchase options.
  3. Increase the adoption of sustainability practices in agriculture by training LATs in delivering curriculum to new and beginning farmers and ranchers on sustainability concepts.

This project will build off of AFT’s Farmland for the Next Generation curriculum, which will prepare the network of LATs to train and mentor new farmers and ranchers to assess their financial readiness; determine their land tenure options; find and evaluate farm properties; and negotiate lease, inheritance and purchase agreements.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Megan Jenny (Educator)
  • Katie Painter (Educator)
  • Rob Smith (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

The educational approach this project uses is to adapt American Farmland Trust’s (AFT) 8-unit land access training curriculum to fit the needs specific to new and beginning farmers in Washington State; train and certify a minimum of 20 land access trainers (LAT) in delivering the curriculum to new and beginning farmers; and provide ongoing support for LATs to best assist new and beginning farmer trainees in accessing land and managing their operations and land sustainably.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Land Access Trainer Training
Objective:

Enhance the capacity of a network of agricultural educators and service providers by providing training and certifying 20 new Land Access Trainers (LATs) who will become part of a growing network of LATs in Washington.

Description:

The project team will provide the selected trainers with two in-depth in-person trainings, two half-day hybrid webinar sessions, the curriculum and extensive contacts and resources, as well as opportunities for one-on-one consultation.

Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impact of this initiative are as such:

  • LAT trainees will receive comprehensive curriculum related to land access and tenure.
  • LAT trainees will learn how to adapt curriculum to best serve their unique audiences.
  • LAT trainees will learn how to teach beginning farmers and ranchers how to navigate land access concerns.
  • LAT trainees will gain access to contacts within the land access community.
  • LAT trainees will gain opportunities for technical assistance in curating content and hosting events.
New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Land Access
Objective:

Increase land access for new and beginning farmers and ranchers in Washington by supporting LATs in training 200 new and beginning farmers and ranchers and helping them assess their goals and financial readiness to lease or buy land, understand ways to identify available farmland, and evaluate farm lease or purchase options.

Description:

LATs will develop training plans with the support of their peers and the project team through monthly meeting calls. The trainers will deliver the training workshops to a total of 200 new and beginning farmers and ranchers, subsequently seeking feedback via surveys from their workshop participants. At minimum of 20 trainers will complete and deliver two trainings.

Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impact of this initiative are as such:

  • LATs will serve new farmers and ranchers by hosting informative and compelling events.
  • LATs will produce basic lesson plans and event structures.
  • The project team will create a survey for LATs to administer with new and beginning farmers and ranchers to indicate what the farmers and ranchers have learned from the training.
Sustainability Practices
Objective:

Increase the adoption of sustainability practices in agriculture by training LATs in delivering curriculum to new and beginning farmers and ranchers on sustainability concepts.

Description:

AFT will adapt and refine current national land access training curriculum, including the integration of sustainability concepts that LATs will be trained in delivering to new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impact of this initiative are as such:

  • The train the trainer curriculum will be enhanced by the additional resources included.
  • Trainers will benefit from increased knowledge around farm sustainability.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Consultations

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
2 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

Project outcomes will be the following:

  • The project team will deliver at least two workshops for trainers which will include the Performance Based Learning Model and eight current modules of AFT’s Land Access Training Curriculum.
  • The project team will integrate engaging virtual content to events if workshops shift to an online format.
  • Trainers will attain higher literacy in the Performance-Based Learning Model.
  • Trainers will be able to explain and confidently teach the majority of current modules of AFT’s Land Access Training Curriculum.
  • Trainers will collectively serve at least 200 farmers and ranchers with delivery of land access trainings.
  • Trainers will benefit from learning more about land access, from definitions of land tenure to financial planning, to succession planning. They will feel confident and able to communicate land access issues to a wide variety of audiences.
Recommendations:

While new and beginning farmers and ranchers can certainly benefit from land access training, they are only one part of the puzzle in ensuring that agricultural lands are protected and sustainable land stewardship continues. Aging farmers and ranchers also need assistance as they retire and make land succession plans. Projects that provide succession planning resources to farmers and ranchers that desire their land to remain in agriculture as they retire will help reduce unsustainable development of these lands while also helping them become available to new and beginning farmers and ranchers who are increasingly in need of affordable land tenure options.

Alternative land tenure options are also increasingly of interest to farmers seeking land. AFT sees potential opportunities to conduct research and create resources that explore various land tenure models, as well as promote findings to best serve farming communities.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.