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HUDSON, NY (January 23, 2020) – Secure access to land is at the foundation of a farmer’s ability to succeed in growing food and building their business. Buying or leasing farmland is often the biggest investment a farmer will make in their career, but it can be incredibly risky and complex, or out of reach entirely. To help farmers understand their options and navigate the process of accessing land, the National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) developed two free, online resources: the Finding Farmland Course and Calculator.
To better serve primarily Spanish-speaking farmers, Young Farmers also created a Spanish version of the Finding Farmland Course, and released the Finding Farmland Calculator in Spanish.
The Finding Farmland Course includes articles, videos, podcasts, activities, and resources about goal setting, land tenure methods, financial planning, loan options, and more. Farmers can access the Course free of charge and can complete it at their own pace. The Course serves as a comprehensive companion resource to the Finding Farmland Calculator, which helps beginning farmers planning to buy farmland.
The Calculator is an interactive tool that allows users to compare properties, calculate purchase costs, learn about financing options, and understand affordability. It was designed to help farmers prepare to meet with a loan officer, and to use as a reference tool throughout the farmland purchasing process.
“Securing access to quality farmland is the number one challenge facing young farmers, and we know the road to secure land tenure is made even more difficult for non-English speaking farmers and farmers of color. One barrier is the lack of transparency and clarity around the financing options that make farmland purchases possible,” said Martin Lemos, co-executive director of the National Young Farmers Coalition. “This new translation of the Finding Farmland Course and Calculator offers the millions of skilled Spanish-speaking farmers in this country a resource to better understand some of the existing opportunities to buy or lease land. We know there is much more work to be done to ensure opportunities for farmland access are truly equitable, and our Coalition is committed to confronting the structural challenges that make farmland ownership an exclusive privilege.”
The Finding Farmland project was made possible by partnerships with a nationwide network of farmland access organizations, and a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which supports projects that develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. Additional support for outreach about the tool comes from Farm Credit.
With nearly 100 million acres of the nation’s farmland expected to change hands in the next five years, and young farmers citing land access as their top challenge, Young Farmers is focused on making secure, affordable access to land possible for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. While tools alone cannot make land access a possibility for everyone, or entirely eliminate the risk of leasing or buying land, Young Farmers hopes that these tools demystify the steps farmers can take and help them to feel more confident in their search. The Finding Farmland program is part of a larger land access campaign strategy, which includes farm bill and state policy advocacy, land access workshops for farmers, and a series of trainings for land conservation professionals around the country.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is an advocacy network of young farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.