Farming’s Next Generation Seeking Room To Grow

Land these days doesn’t come cheap. As costs continue to escalate, many young growers getting their start in agriculture are having to face the stark reality of acquiring land in a highly competitive real estate environment.

Holly Rippon-Butler
Holly Rippon-Butler

Luckily, there are resources available to beginning growers to make the purchasing process a little easier. For example, Holly Rippon-Butler, Land Access Campaign Manager at the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), has made it her mission to help growers navigate the agricultural real estate maze by connecting them with land trust partnerships that can facilitate the buying process.

Working With Land Trusts: What Are They?

Land trusts are non-profit organizations often started by community members, which are dedicated to protecting natural resources, according to NYFC’s website. Agricultural land trusts are focused on keeping farmland free from development and available for agricultural use.

Land trusts typically protect agricultural land by purchasing the property in full and leasing it to a farmer or managing it, or by holding a conservation easement on the land. Conservation easements are legally binding documents in which a landowner sells or donates a portion of his or her property rights to the land trust, extinguishing those rights.

Although NYFC is connected to other resources to help growers secure farmland, land trusts are the coalition’s primary focus, according to Rippon-Butler.

“We have chosen to focus on land trusts because we believe that it is critically important for farmers to own the land they’re farming on or have the ability to build equity on that land if they want to grow and maintain a viable farm business,” she explains.

Are Land Trusts A Good Fit For You?

To determine whether working with a land trust is right for your business, Rippon-Butler suggests evaluating a series of criteria.

The first step in this process is to make sure there is a land trust available in your area. By conducting a search on sites such as Findalandtrust.org, you can narrow down the results in your area and begin researching which land trusts might be a good fit.

So what should you look for in a land trust?

“First, take a look at the land trust’s website and read its mission statement,” Rippon-Butler says. “If it says in the mission statement that they’re only concerned with wildlife conservation, or maybe very narrowly focused on a geographic area, they might not be thinking about conserving farmland and keeping working farms on that land.”

Furthermore, not all land trusts may have the capital to work with every grower’s needs, so it’s important to have a conversation with the trust to assess whether or not they can serve you at your current scale.

Understanding that a land trust is a binding legal document is critical, Rippon-Butler says.

“Make sure you’ve partnered with a lawyer at some point, and make sure you’re being looked out for within the legal document.”

For more detailed information on the benefits of agricultural land trusts and conservation easements, refer to NYFC’s “Finding Farmland: A Farmer’s Guide To Working With Land Trusts.”

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

GenNext Growers Stories
Apples & Pears
April 19, 2017
Young Apple Growers Meet with Lawmakers
Apple leaders from across the country discuss ag issues such as labor, trade, and research. Read More
Vijay Kumar giving TED Talk on ag innovation
GenNext Growers
April 17, 2017
TED Talks Take on Agriculture Innovation
The popular short-form presentations address the future of food production. Read More
Generic produce clamshell packaging
GenNext Growers
March 20, 2017
Packaging: A Powerful Way for Farmers to Reach Consumers
Growers have few opportunities to communicate with end users. Paying mind to what’s on the outside can help sell a lot of what’s inside. Read More
GenNext Growers
March 15, 2017
Introducing Technology, Farm Transitions among Topics at IFTA Young Grower Reception
Event brought together the next generation of tree fruit growers and young professionals in the industry. Read More
iphone close-up
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on the Go
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
FFVA Emerging Leader Development Program Class 6 Farm Tour
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for GenNext Growers
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Start-Up Hort Tech Companies Honored
Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology Scholarships promote sustainability. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Farmer Success Act Reintroduced to Congress
Bill to add young growers to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 26, 2017
New Washington State University Program Hopes to Encourage Careers in Ag
The Spark program highlights opportunities in agriculture for minority, high school students. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 21, 2017
$8.8M Available to Support Ag Programs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions
Grants designed to attract, retain students in agricultural fields. Read More
Fruits
January 19, 2017
Funding Available to Improve Ag, Food Sciences Facilities at Land Grant Schools
USDA announces $18.9 million for ag education at 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 18, 2017
$858,000 in Grants to Encourage Careers in Agriculture Science
Funding to invest in programs that educate, promote science in the classroom. Read More
cash money in hand
GenNext Growers
January 17, 2017
9 Financial Resolutions to Boost Your Farm’s Bottom Line
If a goal for the new year includes increasing profitability, there are ways you can better manage your business. Read More
Basic tractor on the horizon
GenNext Growers
December 16, 2016
What to Know When Purchasing New or Used Farm Equipment
Prepare to ask as many questions as possible to determine whether it will serve your operation in the long term. Read More
GenNext Growers
December 15, 2016
Study Says Young Growers Seek More Information on Business, Technology
Automation and data access on smart phones among key interests. Read More
The Latest
GenNext Growers
May 22, 2017
How to Make Dollars and Sense of Today&#…
Despite current challenges impacting the future of the North American fruit and vegetable industry, there are opportunities to be had. Read More
GenNext Growers
May 18, 2017
Five Delegates to Represent U.S. at Yout…
More than 1,000 applied as delegates to help tackle global food security challenge at international event. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 22, 2017
Next Generation of Leaders Gets Yearlong…
Almond Leadership Program enters its ninth year with the 2017 class. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 19, 2017
Young Apple Growers Meet with Lawmakers
Apple leaders from across the country discuss ag issues such as labor, trade, and research. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 17, 2017
TED Talks Take on Agriculture Innovation
The popular short-form presentations address the future of food production. Read More
GenNext Growers
March 20, 2017
Packaging: A Powerful Way for Farmers to…
Growers have few opportunities to communicate with end users. Paying mind to what’s on the outside can help sell a lot of what’s inside. Read More
GenNext Growers
March 15, 2017
Introducing Technology, Farm Transitions…
Event brought together the next generation of tree fruit growers and young professionals in the industry. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on t…
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for Gen…
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Start-Up Hort Tech Companies Honor…
Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology Scholarships promote sustainability. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Farmer Success Act Reintroduced to…
Bill to add young growers to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 26, 2017
New Washington State University Program …
The Spark program highlights opportunities in agriculture for minority, high school students. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 21, 2017
$8.8M Available to Support Ag Programs a…
Grants designed to attract, retain students in agricultural fields. Read More
Fruits
January 19, 2017
Funding Available to Improve Ag, Food Sc…
USDA announces $18.9 million for ag education at 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 18, 2017
$858,000 in Grants to Encourage Careers …
Funding to invest in programs that educate, promote science in the classroom. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 17, 2017
9 Financial Resolutions to Boost Your Fa…
If a goal for the new year includes increasing profitability, there are ways you can better manage your business. Read More
GenNext Growers
December 16, 2016
What to Know When Purchasing New or Used…
Prepare to ask as many questions as possible to determine whether it will serve your operation in the long term. Read More
GenNext Growers
December 15, 2016
Study Says Young Growers Seek More Infor…
Automation and data access on smart phones among key interests. Read More