NYFC has launched a targeted campaign in Pennsylvania to tackle the challenge of access to affordable land by organizing farmers, advocating for policy change, and building partnerships with farmland preservation professionals.
Pennsylvania has the most successful farmland protection program in the nation, abundant high-quality farmland, and strong potential markets for farm goods—yet the future of farming in the state is at risk. Forty-one percent of land in PA is farmed by an individual 55 years or older and 11 percent of farmland in the state is expected to change hands in the next five years. Meanwhile, farmland prices in the state continue to rise and farmers are being lost at a far faster rate than young people are entering agriculture. Farmers over 65 outnumber farmers under 35 in Pennsylvania by six to one, and as of the 2012 USDA Census, only 12 percent of PA’s farm operators were young farmers.
In Pennsylvania, NYFC is working to address the challenge young farmers face accessing affordable land by:
- Mobilizing Western Pennsylvania farmers and partners to take action;
- Advocating for state and federal policy change that ensures programs and funding reflect the land access needs of farmers; and
- Providing education to farmers and land trusts around tools and strategies for affordable land protection.