Our Good Work, Winter 2018
Spring is around the corner!
As the seasonal crescendo of activity on our working lands grows, many senior farmers are faced again with the reality of their desire to retire and pass on the farm. 

Without a sound plan and an identified successor, too many farm families face another season of worry about their future and that of their farm. 

See what we're doing to pass on farms and help a new generation of farmers get on land :
Thanks to supporters like you, we're on track to help more farmers access and transfer land in 2018. Your donations provide critical support to secure farm legacies for a new generation of eager farmers. Renew your support at landforgood.org/donate .

Our food security - and so much more - depends on the land security of our farmers across the generations.  

With gratitude,  

Jim Habana Hafner
Executive Director
navigating-transfersNavigating farm transfers - with or without an identified successor

(photo credit: USDA NRCS)
For senior farmers looking to retirement and their farm's uncertain future, more help is available to navigate the complex process of farm succession. Our research shows that one-third of the farms in New England are owned by farmers at or beyond retirement age, and 90% of them currently do not have a young farm operator working alongside them [Gaining Insights]. Many want technical assistance on specific aspects of farm transfer planning and need help finding the right service providers. The Farm Transfer Network of New England offers both. This specialized site has valuable resources for farmers and professionals. It allows attorneys, accountants and other professionals to list their services and expertise so farmers can more easily find help throughout the farm transfer planning process. We encourage professionals who want to reach farmers to list their relevant services on the site. And for farmers and other professionals to use the listings to help expand their team of farm transfer advisors.

The biggest hurdle in farm succession planning is getting the plan done. This winter, 21 farms in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island made huge strides toward completing their plans by attending our Farm Succession School. Led by Kathy Ruhf (Land For Good) and Jon Jaffe (Farm Credit East), the School brought transitioning farmers and farm couples together for 3 full-day sessions spread out over the winter months. In between sessions, participants completed "homework" such as retirement budgeting and family meetings. By the end of the course, each farm had a binder that documented their progress, along with a game plan for completing their succession plan over the coming year. Read more

"It is important to discuss and communicate and keep working on it [succession planning]. You are always changing - do not let family dynamics, fear and anxiety keep you from work on YOUR plan." - Senior farmer participant in Succession School

transfer-workshop Farm transfer planning workshop comes to Southern NH. Free guidance - and pancakes!

(photo credit: Emily Hague and Monadnock Conservancy)
Wondering how to transfer your farm to the next generation? Or are you an incoming farmer hoping to take over an existing farm? Join us for a
free workshop, Navigating Your Farm's Future - Basics of Farm Transfer Planning at Stuart & John's Sugar House, Westmoreland NH. We'll walk you through the basics of planning a farm transfer, including financial and legal considerations, resources for finding a new farmer or securing land, and farm conservation options. 

Exiting and incoming farmers welcome Tuesday, March 20th, 10am - 1:30pm at Stuart & John's Sugar House Restaurant, 31 Route 63, Westmoreland NH (snow date March 21st) plus enjoy a full pancake breakfast for lunch. Presented by the Monadnock Conservancy, the Cheshire County Conservation District, and Land For GoodSpace is limited! Register by March 16th. 

farm-billAdvocating for land access and farm transfer support in 2018 Farm Bill

"Forgotten Farms" documentary film recently shown at the U.S. Capitol to bring attention to dairy farmers' needs in advance of a new Farm Bill being written this spring. L-R: Cris Coffin, Policy Director, Land For Good; Catherine de Ronde, Economist, Agri-Mark Dairy Cooperative; Dave Simonds, the film's director; Senator Patrick Leahy (VT), Lucinda and Darryl Williams of Hatfield's Luther Belden Farm (MA); and Sarah Gardner, the film's producer.
We've been hard at work for over a year as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition helping to gather input and develop beginning farmer legislation.  

As Congress rolls up its sleeves to write a new Farm Bill this year, we are keeping farmers' land access and succession needs in front of Congress.  LFG has been meeting with Members of Congress and their staff in Washington, D.C. and participating in listening sessions in their local district. We're educating federal legislators about the challenges around farmland availability and affordability  and emphasizing the critical need for more farm transfer and succession tools and support, and the importance of strengthening established Farm Bill programs such as the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE), and the farmland financing options through USDA's Farm Service Agency

In January, at the invitation of Rep. Jim McGovern, and along with farmers and filmmakers, we helped bring a screening and panel discussion of the New England dairy documentary "Forgotten Farms" to the U.S. Capitol. We reminded legislators of the invaluable role dairy farms play in our region's working landscape and farm sector. We thanked those leading the efforts, especially Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT), to help dairy farmers manage risk and low milk prices. "We're really glad to see that Congress took action on some of those needs, as part of the recent budget deal," said Cris Coffin, LFG's Policy Director.

Please encourage your Members of Congress to support a bill that supports the farmers so important to our regional food system. Let your representatives know what matters to you.

conference Promising practices, innovations and policies - a report from the national conference

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.
Over 220 people from 40 states convened in Denver, Colorado for our second national conference Changing Lands, Changing Handslast June 2017. Mining the rich cross-section of farmers, agricultural service providers, agency personnel, policymakers and farm advocates, the conference collected successful and innovative program, practice and policy ideas on these topics. This collection is now available online in a report that organizes workshop notes, video interviews, presentation slides and participant contributions. 

Interested in innovative programs for land seekers? Policy suggestions to foster land transfer? How about racial equity challenges in agricultural land tenure, or new approaches to agricultural easements? 

Stimulate your thinking and enrich your networking.  Read the report.

"Attendance was diversified and pleasantly large. This made for great interactions and exchange of ideas." - A conference participant

LAP New resources help farmers make more informed land access decisions

LFG's  Land Access Project phase 2 (2015-2018) brings together over 40 partner organizations, agencies and individual experts for a three-year regional collaboration.  Together we have developed and strengthened programs, services and policies, improved professional networks in each state, our region and nationally.  Through training, advising, and new resources, LAP2 has increased the number of beginning farmers making informed land access decisions. Here are some new tools:
  • New helpful guide How to Write an Online Property Posting created by the New England Farm Link Collaborative which administers the recently updated regional farm-linking site New England Farmland Finder
  • Urban Land Access guide addresses urban land access for commercial farmers that looks at the unique challenges in locating urban properties, dealing with urban ordinances, soil issues, and landowners. Coming this spring to our toolbox!
  • Farm Transfer Network of New England updates, resources, and providers. We're recruiting new providers! If you offer farm transfer services - legal, financial, conservation, management, insurance, or other - let farm families and other providers know about you! Get listed here!
  • A new guide to Farmland Tenure Methods will soon be available to help farmers sort through their land access options and make informed decisions. The methods are organized by farmers' goals and include: ownership now; path to ownership; and non-ownership (tenancy). For each method the guide explores relevant partners and stakeholders, legal and financial arrangements, equity and legacy provisions, challenges and responsibilities, as well as advantages and disadvantages. Coming this spring to our toolbox at landforgood.org/toolbox.
"The information we received was invaluable... our eventual buyers, as well as several other interested parties, found us through New England Farm Finder." - A farm property owner

state Advancing land access in your state and across New England

A group of 50 farmland protection and land access practitioners and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff from across the region gathered in NH this winter to explore common challenges and conditions in state Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) programs and other tools promoting affordability and access. These include buy-protect-sell projects and options to purchase at agricultural value (OPAVs). Hosted by Land For Good and American Farmland Trust, the event enabled participants to discuss ways USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) can be used for farmland protection. We will continue this regional networking in 2018 and release of a state land access policy compendium this spring.
impact2017 YOUR support has impact

Thanks to the support of our partner organizations and donors - like you - LFG has helped thousands of farmers, landowners and professionals in 2017. See how you've made a difference!
  • 394 new cases of direct advising services to farmers, landowners and communities, a 10% increase over 2016
  • Over 700 participants gained knowledge, skills & connections at 39 land access & transfer workshops that LFG conducted with partners 
  • 267 farm properties active on New England Farmland Finder, an 80% increase over 2016 
  • Over 1,400 farm seekers registered as users on New England Farmland Finder and site traffic increased by 41% overall
  • 3,500 farm seekers used Acquiring Your Farm online tutorial since it's April 2017 relaunch; 90% of users reported it helpful for their farm search  
  • Over 118,000 users visited landforgood.org for educational materials and tools; 94% of users agreed they were helpful for their situation
"The consultation [with your field agent] well exceeded my expectations. Because there is no one size fits all solution to addressing land access, having a one-on-one conversation talking through my personal context was so valuable." - A farmer

A word cloud based on client responses to our evaluation survey

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Land For Good | 39 Central Square, Suite 306, Keene, NH 03431 | 603.357.1600