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What We Do

Impacting land tenure in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

What We Do.jpeg

The Farmland Access Hub is a consortium of partners including non-profits, government agencies, local companies, and private citizens dedicated to assisting beginning farmers with their quest for land tenure.

Pooling Resources and Knowledge

Farmland Access Navigators help beginning farmers obtain durable and fair land tenure. They have extensive training to develop proven techniques and meet regularly to discuss opportunities and hurdles our clients face to better serve them.

Providing Financial and Technical Resources

Our navigators help land seekers create business plans and direct them to potential funders, including traditional banks, farm credit, and USDA FSA farm ownership loans/operating funds. We have knowledge of state specific funding like the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority and Beginning Farmer Tax Credit, as well as less traditional funding sources for more creative financing options.

Search and Discovery of Suitable Farmland

The land search itself can be the most time consuming. Often, good land only appears through word of mouth, so we encourage clients to be intentional and aggressive in casting a wide net in their community to ensure everyone knows they are looking for land. Once land is identified, the next step is determining the suitability of that farm. We often bring in established farmers with experience in the type of farming our client wishes to undertake to share knowledge of the geography, soil quality, and overall suitability of the land in question.

Identifying Beginning Farmers in Need of Assistance

Navigators regularly present at conferences and other gatherings on Land Access to meet beginning farmers who may need our help. Some of our clients come to us through our online intake form or as referrals through our extensive network and state Hub leaders.

Aiding in the Search for Land Tenure

The main role of the Navigator is to help a beginning farmer be as prepared as possible to secure tenure--a process that begins even before a parcel of land is identified. Knowing things like where the farmer wishes to farm can help focus the search. Next, we discuss amenities to discover which attributes are necessary for success and which are optional. We also help the beginning farmer assess their financial and practical skills, a step undertaken before seeking farmland, to help clients understand what they can achieve.

Transition Assistance

We also help farmers transition out of farming. Being far more complicated than the mere transfer of land, many sensitive issues arise in farm transfers, which involve real estate, an agribusiness, and often a residence. Even when transitioning a farm from parent to child, delicate points (such as siblings, income and inheritances, or other stakeholders) must be addressed. Those issues become even more complicated when the beginning farmer seeking to buy is not related to the retiring farmer seeking to sell. A common issue arises when the retiring farmer wants to live on the farm during the transition. We have vast experience in assisting our clients with challenges.

Assisting new and resource-limited farmers in developing an access plan

Offered through:

  • Workshops

  • Webinars

  • One-on-one coaching with Farmland Access Navigators

  • Technical assistance from advisors


Knowing how to farm and having a foundational understanding of farm finances does not translate into a new farmer being able to find, afford, and secure land. Our services address the farmland access challenges facing beginning farmers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

Clarifying Goals

Starting up a farm involves harnessing what might be years of dreaming, and often leaves a new farmer with unreasonably long lists of potential activities. Your Farmland Access Navigator can help you identify the things that are most important to you, and define a clear order that won’t be as overwhelming.

Understanding available financing

While most people think traditional bank loans when purchasing property, many beginning farmers might need or want to consider other financing options as well. We can help you explore low-interest loan possibilities, including programs offered by the USDA. We’ve also got some ideas for other types of support, such as group ownership models and other funding sources. 

Assessing technical and practical farming skill readiness

As a beginning farmer, you may need assistance in determining your skill set for launching or advancing your farm business. Navigators can help assess experience acquired vs. experience needed, as well as business planning and management skills. We can then suggest technical resources to fill any gaps in your knowledge base—such as farm business management— and/or guide you toward the next steps in planning.

Providing specialized knowledge, expertise, and connections to professionals for further assistance

Agricultural businesses can be complicated. There are physical, legal, and technical situations to consider such as zoning allowable for certain kinds of infrastructure or when a contract is warranted and how to implement it. Sometimes help is needed from outside professionals such as real estate agents, farm law specialists, and financial or business advisors. Our partnership includes service providers who can answer your questions and provide tangible support.

Identifying priorities for suitable farmland

Not every piece of farmland is well suited for every kind of farming. Are you thinking of running chickens in moveable pens, but love that rolling piece of driftless farmland? Perhaps you need to rethink your love of either the property or the operation, as big hills and moveable pens aren’t a good combination. We can help you figure out what qualtities you’ll need in a piece of farmland, including how close you want to be to what kinds of markets, or the size of property that makes sense,  based on the goals you’ve identified.

Reviewing personal financial readiness

Whether you’ll need to apply for financing farmland purchase or not, you will need a financial base to start your farm operation. We can help you understand, organize and review your financial resources to help assess if you’re in a position to undertake your farming goals. We can point you to resources to guide you in setting up financial records needed to apply for funding and/or start up your farming business.

Understanding elements of good and equitable farmland leases

Farm leases are common and it’s important to understand the risks and benefits to both the lessee and the lessor. Having a reasonable and fair contract in place can help guide decision-making, provide peace of mind to all parties involved, and avoid legal issues. Our Navigators are knowledgeable in helping you determine the important elements to consider in a lease. We can also provide support by working directly with an attorney to finalize your farm lease or contract.

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