Farmland for the Next Generation Training in the Pacific Northwest

Progress report for PDP20-002

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $74,903.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2023
Host Institution Award ID: G120-21-W7903
Grant Recipients: American Farmland Trust; PCC Farmland Trust; Viva Farms
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Addie Candib
American Farmland Trust
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Project Information

Abstract:

AFT’s Farmland for the Next Generation Training in the Pacific Northwest is leveraging a collaborative project team, including Washington Farmland Trust and Viva Farms, to develop curriculum and professionally train a cohort of a minimum of 20 land access technical service providers in Washington State in land access, land tenure, and succession planning. Subsequently, land access technical service providers are delivering technical assistance 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 has recruited participants in this cohort training program who are 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 adapted 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. Land access technical service providers will become part of a growing network of professionals in the Pacific Northwest region who can effectively deliver technical assistance 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 to 20 new land access technical service providers who will become part of a growing network of land access technical service providers in Washington.
  2. Increase land access for new and beginning farmers and ranchers in Washington by supporting land access technical service providers in serving 200 new and beginning farmers and ranchers by 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 land access technical service providers in delivering technical assistance to new and beginning farmers and ranchers on sustainability concepts.

This project builds off of AFT’s Farmland for the Next Generation curriculum, which is preparing the network of land access technical service providers to assist 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.

To date, AFT has made the following progress on the above objectives, in order as they are presented above:

  1. Objective 1:
    1. AFT has identified and recruited the cohort of technical service providers who will be trained and supported to provide land access technical assistance to beginning farmers throughout Washington.
    2. AFT has adapted existing curriculum and developed new curriculum that will be used to train the cohort of land access technical service providers.
  2. Objective 2:
    1. Not yet applicable.
  3. Objective 3:
    1. Not yet applicable.
Timeline:

The proposed project activities and associated methodologies and timelines are as follows:

  1. Adapt national land access training curriculum to best fit regional needs in collaboration with partners. (September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2020)

AFT will adapt and refine current national land access training curriculum to fit regional needs, collaboratively working with PCC Farmland Trust and Viva Farms. The project team will also consult with Washington State University Extension to review materials for alignment with existing Cultivating Success Program curriculum, which focuses on business development training for small and medium-scale farmers and ranchers. The curriculum will also include use of PCC Farmland Trust’s Farm to Farmer website (https://farmtofarmer.org/), which links farmers with prospective land.

  1. Recruit and select 24 trainers on land access, land tenure, and succession planning. (February 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021)

The network of trainers will be selected through a competitive process. The project team will identify 200 qualifying prospects and invite them to participate, seeking participants who are farmers and ranchers as well as staff from NRCS, Cooperative Extension Service programs, Conservation Districts, and conservation NGOs. It is anticipated that 75 people will apply. Of these, the project team will select 24 trainers to reflect the range of service providers needed to create a sustainable support system that can operate in unison as a cohort to provide newly learned services to new and beginning farmers and ranchers throughout Washington.

  1. Train trainers (September 1, 2021-August 31, 2023)

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. 

  1. Support trainers in delivering the training curriculum to new and beginning farmers and ranchers. (September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2023)

Trainers 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 least 20 trainers will complete and deliver two trainings and achieve certification as LATs, becoming a part of a growing and ongoing LAT network in the Pacific Northwest.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • 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  a minimum of 20 land access technical service providers in delivering technical assistance to new and beginning farmers; and provide ongoing support for land access technical service providers to best assist new and beginning farmer trainees in accessing land and managing their operations and land sustainably. The adaptation of AFT’s original 8-unit land access training curriculum includes a new emphasis on the foundational skills needed to provide effective technical assistance, as well as a strong focus on understanding the unique needs, challenges, and barriers experienced by farmers who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or who don’t speak English as a primary language.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Land Access Technical Service Provider Training
Objective:

Enhance the capacity of a network of agricultural educators and service providers by providing training to 20 new land access technical service providers who will become part of a growing network of service providers in Washington.

Description:

The project team will provide the selected land access technical service provider trainees with weekly 3-hour virtual sessions over an 8-week period, 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:

  • Land access technical service provider trainees will receive comprehensive curriculum related to land access and tenure.
  • Land access technical service provider trainees will learn how to work with unique audiences to navigate the land access process.
  • Land access technical service provider trainees will learn how to help beginning farmers and ranchers to navigate land access concerns.
  • Land access technical service provider trainees will gain access to contacts within the land access community.
  • Land access technical service provider trainees will gain opportunities for peer support and networking in providing technical assistance related to land access and tenure.
New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Land Access
Objective:

Increase land access for new and beginning farmers and ranchers in Washington by supporting land access technical service providers in serving 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:

Land access technical service providers will develop implementation plans with the support of their peers and the project team through monthly meeting calls. The land access technical service providers will deliver technical assistance to a total of 200 new and beginning farmers and ranchers, subsequently seeking feedback from the farmers and ranchers.

Outcomes and impacts:

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

  • Land access technical service providers will serve new farmers and ranchers by hosting informative and compelling events.
  • Land access technical service providers will produce basic lesson plans and event structures.
  • The project team will create a survey for Land access technical service providers to administer with new and beginning farmers and ranchers to indicate what the farmers and ranchers have learned from the technical assistance they’ve received.
Sustainability Practices
Objective:

Increase the adoption of sustainability practices in agriculture by training land access technical service providers in delivering technical assistance 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 land access technical service providers 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.
  • Land access technical service providers will benefit from increased knowledge around farm sustainability.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Consultations
8 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools

Participation Summary:

1 Extension

Project Outcomes

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

Project outcomes are the following:

  • The project team will deliver eight 3-hour virutal workshop sessions that cover the eight original modules of AFT’s Land Access Training Curriculum as well as newly developed content.
  • The project team will integrate engaging virtual content to events if workshops shift to an online format.
  • Land access technical service providers will be able to explain and confidently relay content from the 8 modules of AFT’s Land Access Training Curriculum.
  • Land access technical service providers will collectively serve at least 200 farmers and ranchers with delivery of land access technical assistance.
  • Land access technical service providers 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.

Participants

No participants
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.