Our Good Work, Spring 2019
It's finally feeling like spring in most of New England! All winter we've been busy meeting with farmers of all types, helping them take action to access and transition farmland before the start of their busy planting season.

In January, I attended the winter member meeting of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington DC; proud to represent New England and celebrate wins for land access and transfer in the 2018 Farm Bill. I presented Champion of Sustainability awards to New England members of Congress who helped secure Farm Bill wins.

We're continuing to grow our team to serve farmers across the region. A young farmer, Will O'Meara, recently joined our team as our new Connecticut Field Agent. Will has farming experience rooted in the region and is excited to work with the strong network helping Connecticut farmers access, steward and pass on working farmland. Read more in this issue: 
Thousands of farmers benefit from our one-on-one advising, training, and educational tools every year. Please give generously to this critical work at landforgood.org/donate . We couldn't do it without your support.

Happy Spring,  

Jim Habana Hafner
Executive Director
nsacLFG joins National Sustainable Ag Coalition (NSAC) in DC

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) was presented with an NSAC Champion of Sustainability Award in January by
Jim Hafner, LFG Executive Director, with Alicia Harvie, Advocacy Director Farm Aid, and Jessy Gill, World Farmers.
We recently visited Capitol Hill to celebrate wins for land access and transfer in the recent Farm Bill. Jim Hafner, LFG's Executive Director, attended the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) annual winter meeting in Washington DC and joined other organizations to visit members of New England state congressional delegation to present Champion of Sustainability Awards on behalf of NSAC. Discussions centered on Land For Good's work on the ground, as well as related Farm Bill implementation priorities such as support for new, beginning and diverse farmers, farm transfer and succession, and relevant research and data initiatives. 

CTConnecticut farmer to address growing farmland access & transfer needs

Will O'Meara, Connecticut Field Agent
We are excited that Will O'Meara, a farmer and organizer from Waterbury CT, has joined our team as our new Connecticut Field Agent. His farming roots go back to high school on Waldingfield Farm in Washington CT, where he remains assistant manager. Will serves on the Steering Committee of The New CT Farmer Alliance, a chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition that brings beginning farmers together to identify and advocate around common challenges and opportunities.

farm-linkExploring best practices at the National Farm Link Clinic

Thank you to the 26 farm link programs from across the country that joined us for a first-ever national clinic.
Nationally, over fifty programs deliver farm link services of various types. Most programs manage property posting websites, while some facilitate transactions between parties. Many also provide educational activities and resources, including property assessment, succession advising, and beginning farmer training. Farm link programs provide essential services and face many challenges. On April 2-3 (St. Louis MO) we hosted 26 farm link programs from across the country (and Canada!) at a first-ever national clinic to discuss best practices. Part of the Land Access Project - Phase 3 (LAP3), the clinic was funded as part of a three-year grant from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) with travel scholarships provided by a generous donor. "Thank you for creating and facilitating the National Farm Link Clinic and offering a travel stipend," shared Nikki Lennart, Vermont Land Link. "I think it was one of the most effective structures of a clinic/small conference that led to very productive and engaging conversations about metrics and evaluating 'success' of these programs ."  

succession-planningImproving teamwork & capacity to do succession planning 

A training for Farm Succession Advisors offered skill building to 60+ attorneys and other farm service providers.
To sustain New England agriculture, over 10,000 senior farmers must successfully transition their farms to a successor in the next decade - whether to a related or other owner. Most farmers want help to pass on their farms and exit securely from active farming. Together, we can connect transitioning farmers with successors and help them navigate the transfer process, thus reducing a major threat to the loss of working farms and our regional food system. 
"As a regional leader on succession planning assistance, we believe that educating farmers is not enough," said Shemariah Blum-Evitts, LFG's Program Director. "Farmers need skilled and knowledgeable professionals such as attorneys, financial experts, educators, mediators, conservation, farm link and farm organization staff, and lenders to help them start and complete succession plans."

List your professional services on Farm Transfer Network of New England

L-R: Amanda Beal, Maine's Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, with Rep. Chellie Pingree, and co-owner of Bumbleroot Farm, Ben Whalen, on the farm in Windham ME. 
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is advocating for farmers as an integral partner in climate change discussions. On April 18th at a farm visit to Bumbleroot Farm in Windham ME, the Congresswoman highlighted the positive role that agriculture can have in climate change solutions and her plan to support farmers in the fight against climate change. LFG's Abby Sadauckas was invited to join the farm visit and press event, which also featured with Maine's Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Amanda Beal, and other key environmental and agriculture stakeholders.

real-estateHelping real estate professionals understand farm properties 

On April 30th, 18 real estate agents from New Hampshire and Maine joined us for a professional training about working with farms with commercial agricultural potential. " There are many ways that farm buyers and sellers connect," says Shemariah Blum-Evitts, LFG's Program Director. "Licensed real estate agents definitely play a role in farm purchase and sales."  The training included tools to increase awareness and access to resources. It is offered across New England for real estate professionals to improve the conditions under which many aspiring, beginning and established farmers seek land.  The training, tools and outreach help real estate professionals understand farm property characteristics, relevant legal and tax issues, farm financing options, and conservation easements. Many real estate professionals have a sincere interest in seeing working farms stay in production but need education and tools for working more effectively with farm properties, their owners and farmers seeking commercial ag properties.

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