American Farmland Trust New York Regional Director Erica Goodman has been named director of the Farms for a New Generation program, where she will play a critical role to usher in a diverse new generation of farmers and ranchers to access land and help to transform agriculture.
Farms for a New Generation works across the country to ensure farmers and ranchers have the resources and training to gain access to land, steward it well and succeed in agriculture. Backed by novel research and facilitated through collaboration, AFT is building the knowledge and skills necessary to support farmers and landowners using adaptable approaches to facilitate successful and innovative land transfers.
“One of AFT’s priorities is to make sure that farm and ranchland can transition smoothly within families as well as to farmers and ranchers who won’t inherit land,” said Beth Sauerhaft, AFT Vice President of Programs. “With Erica’s vast experience and passion, we are confident that AFT will stay at the forefront of farmer land transition for generations to come.”
Goodman has served in the roles of AFT New York Deputy Director and then New York Regional Director since December 2017, where she has worked on issues that spanned AFT’s mission, including transition of land as senior farmers retire. As New York Deputy Director, she coordinated the launch of Farmland for a New Generation New York, a partnership between AFT, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and 34 organizations across the state, which helps connect farmers seeking land and landowners looking to stay in farming through centralized resources, trainings and one-one-one support. The program, which evolved from the successful Hudson Valley Farmlink Network, is now considered the top publicly-funded farmlink program in the country with nearly 100 matches across more than 4,000 acres made since 2018.
“I am humbled and inspired by the work that AFT is leading, along with our partners and the farmers and farmland owners we work with, to ensure that a diverse new generation of farmers and ranchers can enter farming or expand their operations,” said Goodman. “In my own family, I have seen successful farmland and business transition but also witnessed firsthand what happens when the next generation is not poised to take over. At the same time, new and beginning farmers are eager to farm yet face challenges in finding suitable land at prices they can afford. There is tremendous need to bring these forces together as the successful and equitable transition of farmland is critical to supporting a resilient food supply chain and addressing climate change. I look forward to working with my colleagues at AFT and our partners across the country to build opportunities out of these challenges.”
Goodman transitions into the role by succeeding Julia Freedgood, who after many years of serving in the same role will write a book on policy and planning tools for resilient food systems. Freedgood will continue to advise AFT on several projects, including Farms for a New Generation.
“I am excited to lead AFT’s efforts to ensure farming and ranching addresses inequities in land access and remains part of our national fabric for generations to come,” said Goodman.