Land Access through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
This project brings together Michigan’s land grant institution and the key state-level nonprofit organization working with beginning and disadvantaged farmers to collaborate on a beginning and early-entry farmer program; Michigan State University (MSU) houses the Center for Regional Food Systems, the Student Organic Farm’s Organic Farmer Training Program and Michigan Food and Farming Systems, which has an extended history of working with disadvantaged farmers.
For many underserved farmers, access to land is an obstacle due to historical and current dispossession of land and the selling of farmland for industrial development. Unless they inherit farms from family, most incoming farmers cannot afford to purchase land at fluctuating market rates based on farm income, off-farm income, or a combination of the two. Currently in Michigan, land access is up to the individual to develop. This project hopes to create a larger suit of services and resources for New and Beginning Farmers looking for land and those looking to transition, allowing more land to stay in the hands of farmers.
Land Access- Leasing Support and Tools
- Land For Good Leasing Tutorial “is to introduce you to the benefits and challenges of leasing. It will explain types of farm leases, and when to use them. It may help you consider, design and negotiate legally sound, written lease agreements.” (LFG Tutorial). The Toolbox for Leasing Land is has a full range of tools to help you navigate your way from executing a farm lease to making the decision to buy a farm. Although materials are made directly for the New England area, many of the tools here are relevant to new and beginning farmer in all states. LFG, Leasing tutorial, LFG, Toolbox for Leasing Land
- MSU Extension Checklist is to develop an estimate of what may be a reasonable rental rate. Landlord checklist can be completed by the landlord in order to compare one parcel to another.
- Land Rental Issues- MSU Extension Checklist
Michigan Cash Farmland Lease is a template designed for a variety of situations in cash crop leasing.
- Michigan Cash Farmland Lease- Curtis Talley Jr. -District Farm Management Educator MSU Extension, Trent C. Hilding- Attorney at Law, and Dennis Stein- District Farm Management Educator MSU Extension. MSU Extension, Publication E3193, April 2013
- Northeast Beginning Farmers Project, out of Cornell University, provides a wide scope of information for those looking for farmland. Finding a Farm to Buy or Lease- is an excellent example of a written lease and additional resources.
- ATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture, managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), offers publications, stories, and links to evaluate and develop your farming business. Finding Land to Farm- is a clever, educational cartoon designed to inform the variety of ways that farmland is acquired.
- Ag Lease 101 supports land owners and operators to learn about alternative lease arrangements. Site includes sample written lease agreements and more. Ag Lease 101 is managed by North Central Farm Management Extension Committee.
- Beginning Farmers provides national resources for searching for land.
Search and Post Available Land
- Department of Natural Resources- Did you know the state owns thousands of acres of underutilized land? From DNR’s website, you can find 2017 auction infomation and direct land sales.
- Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance- promotes organic agricultural practices and the development and support of food systems. In addition, MIOFFA has the capacity for land owners to post land for sale.
- Michigan Outdoor Properties- like MIOFFA, has the potential and capacity for land owners to post land and seekers to access available farmland.
- Land and Farm
- Land Watch
- Land For Good- Land Owners Guide This complete guide will assist land owners interested in leasing their land.
- Succession Planning on the Family Farm Ag Succession Plan, PNC Bank- Read this short resource to expan your knowledge on why and how to create a succession plan for your family farm.
- Transition Incentives Program (TIP) offers assistance for retired or retiring land owners and operators as well as opportunities for beginning and underserved farmers and ranchers. Are you a retiring farmers with a conservation plan looking to transition the farm. TIP may be the right option for you. Enter your TIP Ad.
Land Access from Conservancies and Land Trust
- Guide to Working with Michigan’s Land Conservancies” serves as a companion to NYFC’s “Finding Farmland: A Farmer’s Guide to Working with Land Trusts” by providing important clarifications and additional details about the Michigan-specific context of partnering with a land trust.
- Heart of the Lakes is the collective voice for Michigan Land Conservancies. Do you have questions arounds farmland preservation, give them a call for more information.
- Equity Trust- although located in MA, Equity Trust provides a few stories preserving farmland that are worth reading.
- American Farmland Trust- Working to protect farmland and keep land in the hand of farmers.
Land Values and Leasing Rates 2013-2015
- Michigan Land Values and Leasing Rates Report. There is much to consider in this report including information on farmland value and leasing and offers explainations for values in Mchigan.
- 2013 Michigan Land Values and Leasing Rate- Eric Wittenberg, Extension Specialist and Christopher Wolf, Professor. Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Report No. 644. November 201
- 2014_Michigan_Land_Values_Leasing_Rates.pdf- Eric Wittenberg, Extension Specialist and Christopher Wolf, Professor. Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Report No. 645. October 2014
- 2015_MI_Land_Values_Leasing_Rates.pdf- Eric Wittenberg, Extension Specialist and Christopher Wolf, Professor. Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Report No. 648. October 2015
General Land Access Resources
- Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development- MDARD has an array of resources from environmental programs to licensing and regulations. Check out the Farmland and Openspace Preservation Program and see if your farm is eligible.
- Greenhorns is a fun educational organization working to support new farmers in America. They have some great guides and resources to utilize whether you are leasing or buying land.
- UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture/New Farmer Project
- University of Wisconsin’s Land Tenure Center
- New Entry Sustainable Farming Project- Although located in MA and functions out of Tuft University, NESFP provide useful resources to new and beginning farmers.
- Sustainable Agriculture Land Tenure Initiative A part of Drake University, this initiative offers an interactive Land Owner Tool.
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22856