Our Good Work, Summer 2017
There's always that one summer that changes you...
As we head into late summer and look back on all we've accomplished together, there are two major highlights that stand out: state and regional progress that's moving land access programs and policies forward; and an historic national conference we hosted in Colorado. You'll find these stories and more in this issue: 
We're grateful and humbled by the farmers and landowners we serve, as well as our fellow colleagues. There's a lot at stake for farmers and rural communities right now in New England and nationally. Whether you fund our work, benefit from our resources or services or just help spread the word, you're helping put more farmers, more securely, on more land. 

Your financial support makes a real difference by directly helping eager farmers access land and exiting farmers pass on farmland. Please consider  donating now to show your support for the farms, farmland and farmers you value.

Wishing you time to enjoy the fruits of your summer labors,


Jim Habana-Hafner
Executive Director

Meet these inspiring presenters, panelists and farmers in our Photo Gallery.
The impact of Changing Lands, Changing Hands was summed up by Monica Rainge from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in her closing remarks,  "We have dared to ask the most  difficult questions."

Over 220 attendees from 40 states posed and grappled with difficult questions, and shared their expertise, experiences and perspectives in Denver, Colorado this past June 13-15. In over 50 sessions in six tracks, we tackled questions such as those raised by Neil Hamilton, Drake University Agricultural Law
Center, in the opening plenary:  Who owns the land? Who farms it? How is it farmed? And who benefits?

Land For Good hosted the conference, in  cooperation with USDA. Chris Beyerhelm, USDA's Acting  Administrator for the Farm Service Agency, and  Lilia McFarland, USDA's New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program Coordinator, offered  opening and closing remarks respectively and participated 
throughout the conference along with other 
USDA staff. In closing, Lilia McFarland remarked, "This was such a special gathering for so many reasons-not the least of which was the thoughtful attention to the creation and support of multiple diverse communities of discussion within the larger topic."
LAP Ambitious work of Land Access Project, Year 2

As we approach the end of Year 2 of our three-year regional Land Access Project (LAP2), project teams and partners are increasing the number of beginning farmers making informed land access decisions, benefiting from improved linking programs, and achieving secure land tenure.  Highlights of the work tackled in the second year of the project include:
state State partners expand support for farmers 

Partners from across New England are actively expanding programs on the ground and advancing policy change. From farm transfer workshops, to evaluating land listing and linking services, to identifying additional agricultural conservation easement funding, state land access and transfer goals are being advanced to benefit farmers and food systems.  
policy Policy's role in farmland access & transfer

Public policy plays an important role in our endeavors, and many of us work on it. At the federal level, a new administration and the upcoming Farm Bill set the framework for LFG and colleagues to produce policy proposals on land access and transfer. Outside the Farm Bill, tax reform is a policy target, such as capital gains exclusions on farm sales, and beginning farmer tax credits. Our region is among the leaders in state policy innovation around farmland protection and mitigation, land restoration for agriculture, land availability and affordability, and farm transition.

We believe that good policy starts with good information. Our  policy work  is informed by what we learn directly from farmers and landowners around the kitchen table, and through formal investigation with a wide variety of research and program partners. 

All farmers care about the future of their farms. They agree that succession planning is important and that keeping the land in farming is a priority, but many lack the structured and sustained support needed. LFG piloted a new Succession School that's helped farm families make progress on succession plans. Farmers receive help with goal setting, estate planning, retirement planning, family communications, taxes, legal structure, and bringing on a successor. The program is open to all New England farmers. Register early!

Upcoming Farm Succession Schools:

December 5, 2017
January 11, 2018
February 7, 2018
Farm Bureau
Marlborough, MA
December 6, 2017
January 10, 2018
February 6, 2018
Farm Bureau
Wethersfield, CT
Rhode Island
December 8, 2017
January 9, 2018
February 8, 2018
Farm Service Agency
Warwick, RI

Read more
For one dairy farm couple, participating in the Farm Succession School led them to develop a timetable for their exit and to work with their on-farm son on transitioning management of the dairy and associated cheese operation.
"This made us look at our business more closely
than we have in a while,"
they shared.
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