By Bonnie Warndahl
There is LOTS going on in Land Access these days. In this issue we learn about past and near-future events at the Farmland Access Hub and partnering organizations.
Hub’s First Landowner/Landseeker Meet 'n Greet A Great Success!
SPRING VALLEY, WISCONSIN—On Saturday, April 8 the Farmland Access Hub, along with partners Land Stewardship Project and Marbleseed, hosted the first session in a planned series of regional networking and educational events for emerging farmers and transitioning landowners. The Landowner/Landseeker Meet n Greet provided opportunities for farmers and landowners in western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota to learn about farm financing and transition options. In addition to a more in-depth look at available resources, participants engaged in Q&A with representatives from Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Compeer Financial, facilitated group discussions, one-on-one networking, and a guided tour of a local sustainable farm. Here are some quotes from attendees of the Spring Valley event:
“The event made me realize there are many more people like me who are passionate about small farms.”
“I’m glad I came – I left with so much information and made some really helpful connections.”
“It was great learning about programs offered by FSA, NRCS, Compeer Financial, and the Navigators – such an abundance of support!”
The Farmland Access Hub is planning at least two more Meet 'n Greet events this summer/fall and are putting together an"event plan" to help other organization execute similar networking events in their regions.
Hoch Orchard Transition—Livestock Giveaway
Harry and Jackie Hoch of Hoch Orchard & Gardens are still in the process of securing successors for their established orchard and cidery business in La Crescent, MN (near La Crosse, WI). In the meantime, they are beginning to downsize farm operations, including reducing livestock on the farm.
In their continued efforts to give beginning farmers an advantage, the Hochs are planning a livestock giveaway contest to rehome their well-loved and cared for lamb and pork breeding stock. Renewing the Countryside, Marblseed, Sustainable Farming Association, and Practical Farmers of Iowa are teaming up to hold a regional contest to re-home three pastured/orchard pigs (two sows and a boar) and 12 sheep (11 ewes and a ram).
Eligible candidates must live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Iowa and have relevant livestock knowledge, experience, and infrastructure, as well as adequate pasture to sustain the animals. Winners are expected to continue raising the awarded animals on pasture using organic methods.
In order to qualify applications must be submitted by May 1, 2023. Winners will be announced May 15, and animals must be relocated within the first week of June.
To learn more about the Hoch Orchard transition and the Livestock Giveaway Contest click the cute piggie photo below!
LSP Land Access Workshop—April 29 in Rosemount, Minnesota
Figuring out how to access land is one of the most complex financial decisions a farmer will make. A “Land Access: Are You Ready” workshop will be held Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Robert Trail Library in Rosemount (14395 S. Robert Trail). The cost of this Land Stewardship Project (LSP) workshop is a sliding scale fee of $30, which covers materials and lunch. Please RSVP by Monday, April 24, at https://bit.ly/LSPaccess. For more information, contact LSP’s Karen Stettler at 507-458-0349 or email@example.com.
For new or aspiring farmers, this workshop will help with strategies and tools to approach the land access journey with confidence. They will engage in participatory activities as well as hear directly from local farmers about the creative land access methods they have used to secure land tenure. There will be resource people on hand to provide guidance and understanding about such topics as financing options, easements and zoning, to name a few. Finally, workshop participants will be provided with additional resources and programs to help plan for, find and afford farmland.
“LSP members are working to build a food and farming system centered on people's needs as well as stewardship of the land and rural communities,” said Stettler, who works with LSP’s Land Access/Land Legacy and Farm Beginnings Program, which, over the past two decades, has trained more than 1,000 beginning farmers. “That means getting more farmers on the land, equipped with the best skills, tools and networks to be successful and profitable in the long term.”
For more information about LSP’s suite of beginning farmer education, training and networking resources, see www.farmbeginnings.org.
*This workshop is partially funded by USDA Extension Risk Management Education.
CONTACT: Karen Stettler, LSP, 507-523-3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Building Community for Land Access—African Farming Community Series!
A new collaborative project between Kilimo Minnesota, Renewing the Countryside, and Land Stewardship Project, Building Community for Land Access is a webinar series designed to provide clarity and build agricultural community around the diverse populations of skilled farmers in the midwest and beyond.
The first round of this series will focus on African immigrant farmers in Minnesota who are providing food to their communities and exploring options for gaining access to more land in order to expand their markets.
Moses Momanyi is an immigrant from Kenya who has been leading the way for other immigrant farmers in Minnesota. To learn more about his work with an incubator program check out this YouTube interview.
The first webinar is scheduled for mid-May. Registration will be posted soon to Land Stewardship Project's website.
New Farm Transitions Page on the Farmland Access Hub Site
Are you a landowner interested in transitioning your farm to the next generation? You may want to consider posting your farm’s profile to the new “Transitions” page on the Farmland Access Hub website. It is our hope that this page will become a central resource in the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa tri-state area for farmland owners hoping to connect with interested farmers regarding the transfer of land and farm businesses. If you would like to have your farm’s profile added to the transitions page please contact Bonnie Warndahl at email@example.com or 612-462-9311.