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farmland for the next generation

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credit: AFT

The success of the next generation of farmers and ranchers is crucially dependant on whether they can secure suitable land to start and expand their operations. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the number of new farmers and ranchers in the United States decreased 20 percent from 2007 and hit a 30-year low. In acknowledgement of this barrier for young farmers, the American Farmland Trust have just recently announced that 24 experienced educators will serve as Land Access Trainers to help beginning farmers and ranchers secure agricultural land. This will be part of a nationwide, four-year-long project and the chosen trainers are located in each of the 10 U.S. farm production regions. The American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization that works to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land.

The trainers were selected from over 100 professionals stemming from Cooperative Extension, state departments of agriculture, community planning agencies and nonprofit organizations including land trusts. Each expert has experience working with beginning farmers and ranchers and nearly all are familiar with land access issues in their region. Together, the group serves a diverse array of beginning farmers and ranchers involved in different types of agriculture.

“Many factors conspire to make land unaffordable to rent or buy– from competition from nonfarm development and established farmers, to increasingly large parcel sizes…We’ve also found that there’s relatively little support provided to beginning producers to help them understand their options. This project aims to fill the gap.”

– Julia Freedgood, co-project director and AFT’s Assistant VP of Programs.

For more information about Farmland for the Next Generation, visit the website by clicking HERE or contact:

  • Julia Freedgood, Assistant Vice President of Programs, jfreedgood@farmland.org or 413-586-9330 x11
  • Jennifer Dempsey, Director of the Farmland Information Center, jdempsey@farmland.org or 413-586-9330 x13

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