- Education and Training: decision support system, extension, workshop
Current and prospective farmers face significant challenges in securing access to affordable farmland in New York and New England. Nearly 25% of the farmland in the seven-state region where this project focuses (New York plus the six New England states) is owned by farmers aged 65 and older; this land will likely transfer to new ownership in the next decade and is at the highest risk of being developed. Continued land loss and increased farm real estate values have made leased land an appealing interim and even longer-term alternative to buying land, yet connecting farmers with landowners willing to lease is often complicated and negotiating successful tenure agreements is complex. To address this problem, American Farmland Trust proposes to launch a multifaceted, targeted training program to help 80 Extension staff and other agricultural service providers gain mid-level or advanced knowledge about farm transfer and farmland access options. Traditional agricultural service providers need more knowledge and skills to be able to advise farmers fully on potential land transfer strategies. These providers tend to have little interaction with non-farming landowners (NFLOs), who control a significant portion of farmland. While land trusts can be an important link to NFLOs, most land trust staff is not knowledgeable about farm transfer strategies, farmland leasing, or linking and matching resources that may facilitate land transfer. The training program will consist of a series of progressive learning and networking opportunities, including webinars (to address basic knowledge needs for those who need it), a regional convocation in Year Two (that will build on the groundwork done in Year One), and advanced problem-solving and peer-to-peer exchange in the form of follow-up conference calls. The direct beneficiaries of this program will be: Extension personnel, other agricultural service providers (e.g., Farm Credit; state departments of agriculture; farm organizations), and land trust staff in New York and New England. The program outcome is that, over the course of the project, 20 agricultural service providers and land trust staff will use the knowledge gained from this program to educate 100 farmers and/or non-farming landowners who own or manage 5,000 acres of farmland about farm transfer and farmland access tools.
Performance targets from proposal:
During the program period, twenty agricultural service providers and land trust staff (beneficiaries) will use the knowledge gained from this program to educate 100 farmers and/or non-farming landowners who own or manage 5,000 acres of farmland about farm transfer and farmland access tools.