The Columbia Land Conservancy’s (CLC) Marissa Codey has been selected to participate in Farmland Advisors, a new training program on farm transfer and farmland access options designed for professionals working with farmers and landowners.
With nearly 25 percent of the farmland in New York and New England owned by farmers aged 65 and older, transferring land to the next generation of farmers poses a significant challenge. The Farmland Advisors program was launched to strengthen the network of professionals capable of working with farmers and landowners on transferring farm businesses and farmland and aiding new farmers in securing land.
Codey is CLC’s Conservation and Agricultural Programs Manager. Codey led the creation of the organization’s Farmer Landowner Match Program which has had 21 successful matches between landowners and farmers on 1,060 acres of land. The program is one aspect of CLC’s larger effort to ensure that farming remains a central aspect of the local economy and landscape.
Farmers face mounting economic pressures. By assisting with land access and transfer issues, CLC helps ensure that they are able to maintain and expand their businesses I’m looking forward to participating in the Farmland Advisors training program as it will give us more resources to support our local farm community.
The two-year training program will be led by American Farmland Trust, a nationwide farmland conservation organization, and Land For Good,an organization that helps provide farmland access, farm transfer planning, land planning, and farm use agreements. Funding is provided by a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Grant.
Codey was one of 80 participants selected to participate in the Farmland Advisors program from a large pool of qualified applicants from New York and New England. Participants include Cooperative Extension educators, land trust staff, agricultural service providers and other professionals working with farmers and farmland owners. Farmland Advisors addresses the challenge of facilitating farm transfer by educating participants through a series of progressive learning and networking opportunities, including webinars, a regional conference, and peer-to-peer exchanges about farmland and farm transfer issues.
Topics to be covered during the training include building relationships with landowners, leases, conservation easements, family and personal issues in estate planning, and tax and financial considerations in farm transfers. Program development will be guided by a steering committee comprised of representatives from American Farmland Trust, Land for Good, New World Foundation, Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, Cornell Small Farms Program, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, GrowNYC, University of Connecticut Extension, Maine Farmland Trust, Peconic Land Trust, New York FarmNet/FarmLink, and University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture.