LAP2 Final Report
Good news for farmers and those who work to help advance land access issues in New England!

We're pleased to report that over 2,060 beginning farmers improved their access to land or tenure situation across New England during the Land Access Project, Phase 2 (LAP2) grant period (September 2015 - August 2018) . 209 farm seekers made more informed land access decisions from the direct consulting, coaching and information they received from LFG's state-based field agents. At least 67 beginning farmers secured land to start or grow their operations during the project period. As well,  732 senior generation farmers were educated  in 34 succession workshops, and 99 farmers advanced their succession planning with 1:1 LFG coaching; 25 of these transitioning farmers plan to transfer their farm to a beginning farmer.
In total, LFG and its collaborators  delivered 144 events  including stand-alone and conference workshops, mixers, and presentations. Event evaluations showed that 75% reported knowledge gains as well as satisfaction with the event. 
Farmers throughout New England are making more informed land access and transfer decisions, thanks to the hard work of LAP Task Forces and collaborators. Read more about these achievements:
As Land For Good moves forward with LAP3, it's a good time to reflect on the accomplishments of an amazing group of more than 40 collaborators.  This project built on LFG's prior  Land Access Project , both funded by the  USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program . In these projects, LFG's two-pronged "theory of change" centered on enhancing direct assistance to farm seekers and improving the conditions for land access and transfer in our region.
New England is a leader in farm access, tenure and transfer, in no small measure due to the deep interest and commitment of so many collaborators. LFG extends the deepest appreciation to all who contributed to LAP2 and for your continuing work to help our farmers access and transfer farms across our region. Thank you !

Kathy Ruhf
Kathy Ruhf
Senior Advisor & LAP2 Project Director
listing-linkingImproving farmer connections 

Connecting farm seekers and land holders is a tough nut. To improve these connections, the Listing and Linking Task Force upgraded and refined the regional New England Farmland Finder
(NEFF). With over 145,000 total site users over the project span, about 4,000 beginning farmers used and benefited from NEFF. The newly conceived New England Farm Link Collaborative improved coordination among partner farm link programs and continues to oversee NEFF. Led by Ben Waterman, task force members produced a New England Farm Link Program Guide, as well as a widely useful guide, How to Create Effective Online Property Postings for Farm Link Websites.
"I am so grateful for LFG's innovation, dedication, and leadership ," shared one collaborator.
tenure-innovationsDeeper understanding of land tenure

The popular Tenure Innovations Task Force, under Bob Wagner's leadership, gained a deeper understanding of agricultural land tenure through an exploration of several topics. One result is a comprehensive Farm Access Methods guide, accompanied by a decision tool. This innovative guide organizes and "scores" the universe of tenure options along key dimensions such as affordability, security and equity.

Responding to an identified gap, the task force also produced a new guide, Farmland Access in Urban Settings. The task force hosted a daylong dialogue in which farm and affordable housing practitioners explored models for affordable farming and farm worker housing.
"The discussions and materials that are  being created - as well as the trained professionals and networks that are growing -  have been most valuable," shared another collaborator.
succession-transferMore successful farm transfers with a team approach 

Farm Succession Advisors Training hosted attorneys, business planners, accountants, land trust & conservation staff, lenders & more.
The Succession and Transfer Assistance Task Force aimed to improve the chances that farms will successfully transfer to the next generation, whether in the family or unrelated beginning farmers. 

Succession planning requires a team approach. More professionals need to provide quality advising to transitioning farmers.  To this end, 60 attorneys and other providers gained knowledge, skills and connections at a two-day  Farm Succession Advisors Training . Under task force leader Annette Higby, a planning subgroup designed and led the event which offered continuing legal education credits. From the technical training materials for this event, an online  Farm Succession Advising: Attorney Training Compendium was developed . Over 93% of providers reported an increase in knowledge and 87% increased confidence to help farmers.

At six  Farm Succession Schools  hosted across New England, 30 senior generation farmers or farm couples produced concrete succession plans.  According to one participant, "It opened my mind to all that's involved and not be afraid to seek help from professionals."  Another stated, "It is a big relief to me! Thanks for the push to get it done! The course was well worthwhile."  The curriculum, with worksheets, homework and a 100-plus page resource binder, was developed and delivered by LFG's Kathy Ruhf and Jon Jaffe of Farm Credit East. An instructors' manual will enable others to deliver the course .

The Farm Transfer Network of New England website, with a searchable roster of succession planning advisors and resources, added about a dozen new providers. The site was also upgraded and migrated to a new platform assisting 7,330 users during the project period, a traffic increase of 132% over the previous year.
"Going forward I would like to see more one-on-one assistance to farmers and landowners on transfer, conservation and viability planning ," shared another collaborator.
resourcesNEW resources available to help farmers

We are excited about our new online Build-a-Lease Tool. Informed by LFG's work with New England farmers, landowners and service providers, this interactive tool enables farmers and landowners to learn about - and construct - farm leases. With definitions, explanations, fill-in text boxes and example text covering basic lease sections, users can generate working documents to share with others - including landowners, tenants and advisors Read more

A 2.0 version of Acquiring Your Farm (AYF), an online tutorial, for aspiring, new and beginning farmers, registered over 9,600 users during the project span. We updated this 8 module AYF with new content and links that now contains multiple lessons organized and designed to provide a thorough introduction to the complex issues of farmland access and tenure Read more
"The education has been invaluable on both the challenges of land transfer planning and the strategies available to create strong plans ," shared another collaborator.
conferenceNational conference highlights

Cris Stainbrook, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, Monica Rainge, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, and Maria Moreira, World Farmers Inc, discussed land tenure barriers of the next generations of African American and Native American farmers.
While LAP2 was mainly a regional project, we sought to build capacity at the national level, too. With a national planning team, LFG organized and hosted its second national conference on farm and ranch access, tenure and transfer.   Changing Lands, Changing Hands was held in June, 2017, in cooperation with USDA. Over 220 service providers, agency personnel and advocates from 40 states came to Denver to share their knowledge and expertise. 

Monica Rainge from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives remarked, "We have dared to ask the most difficult questions."  About the conference, another participant shared, "AMAZING! Left simultaneously exhausted and energized. Just the right length/mix of workshops." 

Using several innovative methods, we collected policy and program suggestions organized into a full conference report.
"Participating in this project has helped us to stay focused on this issue and improve our ability to be an effective service provider in this arena ," shared another collaborator.
collaborators-evalMore of what this group accomplished...

We surveyed our collaborators to document our advances through LAP2. 100% of collaborators surveyed think LAP2 was effective at increasing information and training for farmers. During the project period:
  • 76% worked with 3 or more groups on land access issues 
  • 85% provided technical assistance to farm seekers 
  • 82% used or shared project outputs (materials, resources, trainings, events, news)
  • 93% accessed new tools & resources
  • 96% learned innovative approaches
  • 98% expanded professional networks
"I greatly appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the program and the collaboration among all of the diverse participants ," shared another collaborator.
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The Land Access Project, Phase 2 (LAP2) was funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Grant # 2015-04544. The project was directed by Land For Good and involved over 40 collaborating organizations, agencies and individual experts in six New England states.
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