[Video] Farming For Life, Part 4: Passing Your Farm to the Next Generation

Reader Contribution by John Clark Vincent
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As large numbers of America’s farmers near retirement, the need for new young farmers to take their place grows more urgent. But replacing retiring farm owners involves more than just finding a young person with the right skill set. It also takes money — a lot of it. So how do young farmers without much capital acquire property or take over farms?

In this video, working farmers and farm supporters discuss a variety of ways ownership transactions are taking place.

How Do Farm Buyers and Sellers Find Each Other?

It’s when the challenges we face are greatest that innovative thinking becomes most important. And that type of thinking is helping farm ownership transfers take place. One of the first challenges sellers and buyers face is finding each other. To facilitate that, a number of “land-link” websites serve as a resource to connect people. But sometimes the best strategy is to simply put buyers and sellers in the same room and let them get to know each other.

Organizations across the country are now working to do that. But making connections is just the beginning. Next comes a bigger challenge: making things work financially.

What Financial Strategies are Being Used?

Agricultural easements are growing in importance because they provide a financial benefit for a retiring farmer and help make farm acquisition more affordable for young farmers. Land trusts are another important component of the movement to keep farms in operation. As are investors who hold the mortgage on a property until a new farmer can afford to acquire it. And joint ventures that help groom young farmers to take over are becoming more common.

For more information on advancing your farming career, contact these organizations:

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project – Tufts University

National Young Farmers Coalition

Rogue Farm Corps

Production Credits And Thanks

A special thank you goes out to farmers Jack Gray and Chris Overbaugh (Winter Green Farm), Emily Cooper (Full Cellar Farm), Lili Tova (Flying Coyote Farm), Jonny Steiger (By George Farm), and Katie Coppoletta and Tayne Reeve (Fiddlehead Farm); to farm employees and trainees Mary Koppes, Daphne Gill, Stephen Lewis, and Piper Krabbenhoft; to EMSWCD Land Legacy Director Matt Shipkey; and to the staff members of Rogue Farm Corps for their support and participation. Selected video and photo files were provided by Rogue Farm Corps 

The four-part Farming For Life series was produced by Farming Is Life Media Services (FILMS), with writing and directing by John Vincent, and videography and editing by Paul Manda.

John Clark Vincent is a writer and author who lives in Portland, Ore. His most recent book, Planting a Future, presents a view of what’s happening within Oregon’s rapidly growing movement toward sustainable farming practices. In an effort to provide a glimpse into the many different aspects of such a surging movement, he uses profiles of 18 different farmers and farm supporters to represent the different elements of Oregon’s farm community. Find John online on his website, and read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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