AFT Applauds Introduction of New Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Support Transfer of Farms to Next Generation - American Farmland Trust

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AFT Applauds Introduction of New Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Support Transfer of Farms to Next Generation  

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and Representatives Yadira Caraveo (D-CO), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Don Davis (D-NC), and Zach Nunn (R-IA) introduced the Farm Transitions Act, legislation that will help address barriers faced by young and beginning farmers and ranchers. 

“One third of the country’s total agricultural land will change hands over the next twenty years as the current generation of farmers retire,” said Tim Fink, Policy Director for American Farmland Trust. “Ensuring that this land remains in agriculture and creates opportunities for new farmers will require deliberate policy. AFT applauds the introduction of the Farm Transition Act which will help identify the barriers and the solutions needed to enable these farms and ranches to transfer to the next generation of producers.” 

Despite this immense looming transfer of land, accessing and affording quality farmland is still the number one challenge for young, beginning, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers. This is fueled by near record land prices caused by greater competition with investors, well-established farmers, as well as developers. Last year, USDA reported that between 2009 and 2023, land values increased by a staggering 107 percent.   

Also fueling this challenge is the continued loss of productive farm and ranch land across the U.S. largely due to scattershot development. AFT’s Farms Under Threat: The State of the States study showed that between 2001 and 2016, 11 million acres of farmland and ranchland were acres of agricultural land were paved over, fragmented, or converted to uses that jeopardize agriculture. Continued loss of productive farm and ranch land impacts not just the availability and affordability of land for next generation farmers and ranchers, but also the nation’s ability to combat climate change, provide economic opportunities in rural communities, and address national and global food security.  

The Farm Transitions Act will re-authorize and update the Commission on Farm Transitions, which was created by the 2018 Farm Bill—but never implemented. The 10-member Commission will be tasked with: 

  • Studying the barriers to transferring land and agricultural assets to next generation producers, including the ability to transfer, inherit, or purchase land. 
  • Examining the effectiveness of current agricultural asset transfer strategies and programs, and assessing the impact of current tax policy on transfers.  
  • Identifying barriers faced by next generation producers, including the availability of land, credit, apprenticeships, business training, and technical assistance. 
  • Considering the impacts of broader farmland ownership trends such as farm consolidation and foreign ownership, and the challenges associated with owning heirs’ property.  
  • Developing recommendations to Congress to help retiring and aspiring farmers overcome these challenges and barriers.  

“Our nation’s future depends upon the next generation of farmers and ranchers being able to access land” said Emily Liss, AFT’s Farm Viability Policy Manager. “The Farm Transitions Act will help build understanding of the barriers to entry that they face, so that Congress can create effective, targeted policy solutions.”  

Alongside AFT, the legislation has been endorsed by National Young Farmers Coalition, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, and Wisconsin Farmers Union. 


American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 7.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families. 

About the Author
Tim Fink

Policy Director

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