Land Access for the Next Generation

When we talk about land, we must acknowledge its deep connection to policy and power.

As a coalition of farmers, land is at the heart of our work. Finding secure access to land is the number one barrier preventing a generation of growers from entering the field. Land is also at the root of racial equity, food sovereignty, economic prosperity, public health, and the climate crisis. As we address these issues, land must be part of the conversation.

Our 2017 National Young Farmer Survey found land access to be the number one challenge that young farmers and ranchers face.

In the coming years, as many as 400 million acres of farmland are expected to need a new farmer. Land is increasingly being lost to development and there are fewer farmers to steward the land that remains.

Across the country, climbing land prices and competition with the development market have made it increasingly difficult for farmers to find land they can afford—over the last decade the average cost of farm real estate has more than doubled.

Land determines who has resources and the opportunity to succeed in agriculture, yet land ownership and access in this country are vastly unequal—98% of all farmland and 95% of all farms are owned by white landowners.

This is the deliberate result of an ongoing legacy of policies, laws, and violence that have dispossessed Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) of land while the contributions of these communities to agriculture have gone uncompensated and unacknowledged.

Agricultural land and those who steward it are essential to the strength of our economy, the well-being of our marginalized communities, and the health of the environment. Secure land tenure is fundamental to farm viability, racial equity, and the success of our climate action.

Now is the critical time to facilitate a just transition of land to the next generation of farmers.

 

 

Our work

We imagine a future where land access is no longer a barrier that prevents young people from building a vibrant and resilient agricultural system oriented towards communal well-being.

We are working to ensure that:

  • power and wealth are returned to BIPOC communities;
  • high-quality farmland with appropriate resources is available, accessible, and affordable in an equitable way to all working farmers in the United States; and
  • aspiring growers have the security they need to realize their farming goals.
We do this work by:
  • advocating for policy reform,
  • building a network of engaged service providers, and
  • offering resources to farmers and service providers, all through a commitment to collaboration, partnership, and equity.
We need bold systemic change to address the land access issue. We must change policy 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. We must see land as a vital resource on which our collective future rests, rather than a commodity fueling economic growth. There is no time to wait. 

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