Give a Beginning Farmer a Chance

How have small towns around you changed over the last 30 years? How many young families live there? How many of them farm or ranch? At the Center for Rural Affairs we work to help communities find ways to change these trends.
Thousands of prospective farmers and ranchers visit the Center for Rural Affairs’ beginning farmer and rancher web pages each month. They are mostly young families with a desire to farm or ranch, looking for information on how to get started, as well as for land and financing. Our Land Link program, which matches retiring farmers and ranchers to beginners, has over 300 hopeful individuals, willing to move almost anywhere in rural America to fulfill their dreams.

Most people who got into farming and ranching did so through some sort of “sweetheart deal.” My father had no money, but he had a wife and two kids and wanted to provide for that family by farming. He found a farmer and built a relationship, resulting in a land contract on 40 acres. He eventually owned it, fixed up a falling down house, and made a decent living for us.

Perhaps you and your neighbors could work together to find some land for a beginner. Perhaps you can speak to farmers or ranchers who will retire soon about the importance of building your town in this way? Imagine bragging at the local coffee shop about helping a young family get started in farming or ranching.

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