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The FarmLASTS project addresses one of the most pressing issues facing U.S. agriculture. The future of our agriculture depends on the ability of new generations to establish successful farms and ranches. One of the biggest challenges to entry is gaining access to affordable and secure agricultural land. This project seeks to improve how farm and ranchland is acquired, stewarded and passed on.
This project addresses farms and ranches of all types, sizes and regions. (The terms farms, farmers and farmland include ranches, ranchers and ranchland.) Farmland access and transfer are particularly important for small and medium-size farms that control over 80 percent of U.S agricultural land. In the balance are the quality of life and economic vitality in agricultural communities and the use, protection and enhancement of the nation’s working lands. An estimated 70 percent of U.S. farmland will change hands in the next twenty years. This includes land owned by farmers, and land rented from farming and non-farming landlords.
There are multiple challenges in farm entry, exit, tenure relationships and transfer. The purpose of this project is to discover and share new approaches, models and strategies that foster farm entry, succession and stewardship.
This project is conducting research, education and outreach on:
1. Farmland access and tenure for farm entrants;
2. Farm succession challenges for exiting farm operators; and
3. The impacts of tenure and succession arrangements on land use and the environment.
Over the two year course of the project, FarmLASTS will:
- Investigate how farmland is acquired and held by farm entrants, and how new land tenure and transfer approaches can improve farm viability and land stewardship.
- Conduct research in farmland access and tenure, farm succession, and environmental impacts of tenure arrangements, working with university researchers, non-profit professionals, and beginning and exiting farmers.
- Develop and pilot two educational modules that will be disseminated to academic institutions and non-academic farmer teaching programs.
- Conduct outreach activities at regional and national levels. We will produce written materials including an Extension manual, conduct training events, organize and host a national conference, and place articles in popular farm and rural media.
- Explore the public policy implications of these land access, tenure and stewardship issues and make policy recommendations