This 2020 report from the National Young Farmers Coalition draws on dozens of stakeholder interviews and expertise from partners across the country to highlight the major barriers preventing the next generation of farmers and ranchers—and farmers of color in particular—from accessing the quality, affordable farmland they need to begin successful careers in agriculture.
Access to land
Access to farmland is the number one barrier facing aspiring farmers today, and this barrier is even higher for farmers of color. Land ownership is rooted in the dispossession of Indigenous land and centuries of stolen labor from people of color, sanctioned through policy, while the contributions to agriculture from these communities have largely gone unacknowledged.
As a result, land ownership in the U.S. is vastly unequal—98% of all farmland is owned by white landowners and 95% of farmers are white. At the same time, the cost of land is rising, the climate crisis threatens farm viability, land continues to be developed at an alarming rate, and the agricultural land that remains is increasingly owned by non-farmers.
Land is fundamental to survival. Access to this resource should not be a privilege. As we work toward a future defined by racial equity, community well-being, and climate resilience, land must be centered in our policymaking and our organizing.
About this report
This new report and website provide farmers, policymakers, and supporters with a set of tools to understand the issue of land access and to take action. The site profiles farmers from around the country who are navigating the challenges of accessing land and provides a growing library of resources and policy solutions that lawmakers can implement now to facilitate secure, equitable land access for growers.
As millions of acres of farmland are changing hands, this moment represents an incredible opportunity to shift power and resources. But we need to take action. This new report and land policy site offer many of the solutions that can lead to the bold, systemic change required to tackle the land crisis we face today.
The report calls on policymakers to act now to:
- eliminate inequities in land ownership and access;
- protect farmland for producers;
- facilitate appropriate, affordable, and secure land tenure; and
- support farm viability and transition.
Thank you to Clif Bar for generously supporting this work, and our respect and gratitude to the Indigenous communities and all those who have stewarded the land for many generations. We are also deeply grateful to you—the growers, land workers, and advocates—working to build solutions for more equitable land access.