For young farmers the top obstacles to starting a farm are access to both land and capital. That’s why the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) and Fathom Information Design have created Finding Farmland. A new educational website, Finding Farmland features include a first-of-its kind land affordability calculator that makes it easy for farmers to learn about options for financing farmland and tools, such as easements, to help make it more affordable.
“Buying land is one of the most consequential decisions that a farmer will make,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, Executive Director and Co-Founder of NYFC. “We built Finding Farmland to help farmers make that choice with more confidence. The tool gives users a full view of their credit options, the full cost of land over time, and strategies to make a farm more affordable.”
“From down payments and loans to conservation easements, purchasing farmland can be remarkably complex,” adds Ben Fry, Principal at Fathom Information Design. “We’re excited about empowering prospective owners by helping them consider different scenarios in a way that’s simple and clear.”
Finding Farmland is a free educational tool for farmers and farm service providers, such as extension agents, and can be used as a standalone resource or integrated into a farm business planning course. Farmers can use the tool to analyze the financial impact that different options for financing a land purchase would have on their bottom line, or to compare the overall costs of two different properties.
With two thirds of the nation’s farmland to change hands in the next twenty years, NYFC is ramping up its work to help beginning farmers and ranchers access land. Finding Farmland is part of a larger land campaign strategy, including Farm Bill and state policy advocacy, land access workshops for farmers, a land access webinar series, and a national working group for land trusts.
This project is supported by a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The current site is a beta version. The site launch will be accompanied by a series of in-person trainings around the country and additional online resources.