Access to Land, Capital, Equipment Barriers to Farm Entry
Posted: February 24, 2012
The couple shared their personal story during a breakout session at the annual Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) conference held in State College February 1-4.
They turned to the PASA's brand new land linking program, Farm Lease Connection. After months of meetings with the guidance of Marilyn Anthony, PASA's southeast regional director and founder of the land leasing program, setting collaborative goals for how the land will be managed, and building a relationship, TJ and Chris began farming the Lundale Farm in Northern Chester County and had a successful season in 2011, and look forward to continue to build their CSA for 2012.
Anthony stressed the importance of truly making a land owner - farmer connection before entering into a binding agreement. Shared goals are absolutely necessary to ensure the success of the relationship. The Farm Lease Connection is a tool to help land owners and farmers put themselves out there - like a mix between eBay and eHarmony - by providing a thorough application for each party who is seeking the other. Anthony helps match applicants on the Farm Lease Connection site based on geography and their personal and professional goals for their farm. She did warn conference goers though - it takes up to two years to form a relationship, make an agreement, and the farming begins.
It is necessary for aspiring and beginning farmers to be innovative in the ways they acquire resources needed to begin and expand their farms. Accessing land, capital, and equipment is not always easy.