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Farmland Access, Tenure and Transfer: Conservation Tools or Context? 2013 RCP Network Gathering October 13, 2013 Jim Hafner, Land For Good.

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Presentation on theme: "Farmland Access, Tenure and Transfer: Conservation Tools or Context? 2013 RCP Network Gathering October 13, 2013 Jim Hafner, Land For Good."— Presentation transcript:

1 Farmland Access, Tenure and Transfer: Conservation Tools or Context? 2013 RCP Network Gathering October 13, 2013 Jim Hafner, Land For Good

2 Farmland Access, Tenure and Transfer 1.Why does it matter? 2.What are the challenges? 3.What can RCPs do?

3 Concepts Access Tenure = to hold Transfer How farmers get on to and hold farmland How farmland is transferred from one owner (farmer or non-farmer) to the next

4 1. Why does it matter? Not farmland without farmers More than farmland conservation Tenure security impacts conservation practices by landowner and farmer Generational transition of landowners Land access a top challenge for NBF

5 Aging Farmland Owners –92% of New England farmland owners age 45+ Avg farmer age 54.4 yrs old 2x as many farmers age 65+ as under age 35 2/3rds landowners who lease to farmers are age 60+ (USDA Census of Ag, 2007) –70% of New England farmland expected to change hands in next two decades –2/3 of retiring farmers lacked identified successor

6 Challenges for Exiting Farmers 2/3rds of retiring farmers without identified successors Most want their land to stay in farming Starting the conversation Balancing needs of exiting farmers & families How to involve & support jr. generation on farm Connecting with next generation farmers

7 Challenges for New Farmers Non-farm backgrounds Preference for ownership (cultural value) Land values and competition Affordable housing Depleted support services How to find farms Business planning doesnt adequately address land acquisition

8 Crisis-Opportunity Farmland access, staying on the land and passing farms on are not new problems. New urgency and complexity demands creative, multi-stakeholder approaches. Successful farm transitions can create farming opportunity for new farmers. New farmers can access land in face of high land prices.

9 Innovation Needed Traditional methods of access and transfer not enough Access Affordable Land for Purchase Need to look at and promote a full range of access and tenure options Applies to transfers –Jr. generation on farm –Next generation owners –Early transfer plan promotes investment

10 Farmland access that works for farmers 1.Available (in sufficient quantity, suitable locations, accessible, and findable) 2.Appropriate (for farming/related uses; providing security, housing, infrastructure) 3.Affordable (land and housing; for purchase/rent/other) 4.Equitable (clarity and balance in rights and responsibilities)

11 Beyond owner-operator Leasing is a reality for farmers –½ US farmers rent land –Land with ag potential owned by non-farmers –90% of farm landlords are not farmers Leasing makes sense –Young farmers without mortgage debt more likely to succeed Many types of leases

12 Addressing the challenges Farmers who dont own need good use agreements –Stewardship values shared by landowner and farmer –Good leases can meet a wide variety of conservation and stewardship goals –Agricultural conservation easements can be a key tool in affordability and also in farm transfer.

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14 Addressing the challenges Housing is a critical issue Limits of easements for landowners Buy-protect-sell programs as examples of integrating farmland protection and access Innovative leasing & ownership models

15 Systems View Engage multiple stakeholders at multiple levels in the farmland access system –Farm seekers –Landowners (farmers, non-farmers, organizations, public) –Service providers –Communities

16 3. What RCPs can do Continue to factor in the farmer-farmland relationship Workable agricultural easements Build awareness of farmland access issues Awareness of options for farmers, landowners –Alternatives to ownership –Less traditional leases and tenure models –Sources of help & guidance

17 3. What RCPs can do Help seekers and owners find each other Encourage & support use of public or institutional land for farming Engage diverse stakeholders in the issue Projects that integrate land use planning, conservation and farming Support policies & reforms the help secure farmer access to land

18 Land For Good To ensure the future of farming by putting more farmers more securely on more land. Programs 1.Farm Seekers – put farmers on the land 2.Farm Legacy – families plan farm transitions 3.Working Lands – make land available for farming Consulting & advising for individuals Education & training Collaboration & capacity building

19 We can help! landforgood.org tel Central Square, Suite 306 Keene, NH 03431


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