March 2023 Issue—Farmland Access Hub Newsletter
By Bonnie Warndahl
Contributing Authors: Martha McFarland, and Joe Klingelhutz
It’s official! The new Farmland Access Hub website is live and looking fantastic. This new site is filled with information about the Hub and the Farmland Access Navigator program, including links to resources for both landseekers and landowners. There are intake forms for those seeking one-on-one help, a page for land access-related online and in-person events, and a “news” tab where you can find this newsletter going forward, as well as relevant articles and videos.
We would like to thank our web designer Jessica Fischer at Cloverleaf Art & Design for her amazing work putting our new site together. Thanks also to Jody Padgham, Hannah Lewis, and Jan Joannides for helping me with content creation and review, and Brett Olson for helping with content and creating a new Farmland Access Hub logo.
You can explore the new site and all of its land access resources at farmlandaccesshub.org Feedback is welcome and encouraged. Please don’t hesitate to use the contact form to let us know what you like and what we could be doing better.
Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference, 2023
On February 25th at the Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference, Renewing the Countryside hosted a presentation with a focus on creative Farmland Access for beginning farmers. Farmland Access Navigators Brett Olson, Katie Kubovcik, Moses Momanyi, and I presented to a group of approximately 50 participants. We shared information about the Hub and the Navigator program, offered tips on tenure preparedness, and covered a variety of alternative models of land access. At the end of the session, breakout groups discussed hypothetical scenarios around land access and came up with plans or solutions based on the issue they were presented with.
During the afternoon session Brett Olson, Jan Joannides, and I facilitated a landowner/landseeker networking session and enjoyed some riveting conversations around the transition of farmland.
Thanks to Marbleseed, as always, for putting on this invaluable conference.
PFI Beginning Farmer Summit, 2023
Practical Farmers of Iowa hosted a Beginning Farmer Summit in Ames on February 13. Land Access Navigators Hannah Breckbill and Amber Mohr presented to a group of about 15 farmers in a session about land access. Farmers ranged from people who were just thinking about getting into growing food for themselves to people with experience in the agriculture industry who were looking for land closer to where their home is located.
Each participant engaged in questions around their values, which skills they already have versus resources they still need to seek out (in order to be ready for land), and what is “necessary, desirable, or optional” in their land access quest. There was excitement in the room around cooperative land access as well as alternative and community-based models of financing.
Later in the day, PFI staff member Martha McFarland facilitated a landowners and land seekers networking time, which got a number of people talking with each other about farm transitions and what each side of that transition might be needing or expecting. The more we talk to each other, the more ideas can form and come to fruition!
PFI also offered a session geared toward landowners and farm business owners. That session was also led by Martha McFarland. Other presenters included Joseph Klingelhutz, an Iowa Land Access Navigator, and Dayna Burtness, a farmer in Southeastern Minnesota. In this two-part session, presenters discussed the importance of setting goals for farm transition while providing perspectives about what it means to create successful opportunities for beginning farmers. Attendees were able to think about and discuss their long-term goals and create possible next steps to strategize their farm transition journey.
The USDA has issued a survey to get feedback about how they can improve resources for farmers, ranchers, and forest managers. If you fit into any of these three categories, please TAKE this survey! If you know anyone who falls into these categories, please SHARE this survey! A little time spent can go a long way to improve the future of farming and the well-being of our farmers. https://www.farmers.gov/contact/survey
Thanks for reading—and remember, if you need assistance with land access, farmlandaccesshub.org is a click away!