Access to land with appropriate soil, terrain, and infrastructure is a necessity for willing and capable farmers to grow food, fiber, and other specialty crops. For a producer, “farmland access” translates into land tenure by way of ownership or through a rental agreement. However, emerging farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to locate available farmland and achieve tenure.
Residential and commercial development of agricultural land, along with steadily rising real estate prices, is making farmland scarce and unaffordable for many young and beginning farmers. Without the ability to secure long-term tenure near thriving markets it is difficult for an emerging farmer to succeed. The vitality of a farm business relies on building up many years of wealth, soil health, infrastructure, and a loyal customer base, particularly with perennial crops that take years to establish, such as fruit.
With aging farmers retiring at a higher rate than emerging farmers become established, the issue of farmland access is now recognized as an impending crisis from both a food security and a climate crisis standpoint. We need humans practicing regenerative farming to keep other humans fed, protect and restore native ecosystems, and help to reverse carbon emissions by keeping roots in the ground year-round.
Thankfully, there are a growing number of resources available to both emerging farmers and exiting farmers to help facilitate the transition of land in ways that benefit both parties and preserve our precious farmland for future generations. A large network of agricultural producers, policymakers, advocates, and service providers are exploring alternative land access models and developing farmland access programs. The primary goals within this network are to get more farmers on the land, protect farmland from development or degrading agricultural practices, and ensure that it is held by responsible stewards for a healthier and safer future.
Our land transition pages are designed to provide details about resources available to incoming and exiting farmers. Find the tools you need to plan your future below.
Are you a beginning farmer or land-seeker in pursuit of land tenure? Now, more than ever, there are resources and programs available to help emerging farmers find and secure farmland. This page provides information about the Farmland Access Navigator Hub, land-link sites, financing options, alternative models of land access, and more.
Retiring Farmers and Land Transitions
Are you a landowner interested in selling or transitioning your land to an emerging farmer? There are resources available to help landholders find potential purchasing candidates, demystify alternative models of land acquisition, and preserve land for future generations. This page provides information about land-link sites, the Ag Solidarity Network, farm transition models, and other useful tools.