New Resources Uplift a New Generation of Farmers in Finding New York Farmland - American Farmland Trust

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New Resources Uplift a New Generation of Farmers in Finding Farmland

Christine and Fabio Ritmo of Nimble Roots Farm, a successful match from the FNG-NY program in Greene County, NY. Photo by Cozy Oaks Productions for AFT.

Like many farmers, we spent the cold, quiet winter planning and laying the foundation for future growth here at Farmland for a New Generation New York (FNG-NY), a partnership between American Farmland Trust (AFT) and the State of New York working to connect farmers with farmland.

Since 2018, we have managed the New York Farmland Finder website, which was recognized as the nation-leading farm link program by American Farmland Trust’s Farms Under Threat: State of the States report in 2020. Through the New York Farmland Finder website and FNG-NY’s network of Regional Navigator organizations, we have supported 126 matches between farm seekers and landowners, ensuring that 8,145 acres of farmland have remained available for a new generation of farmers to access via lease, sale, cooperative arrangement, or partnership. Learn more about some of these matches on our New York farmland stories page!

Regional Navigators and AFT staff have provided one-on-one technical assistance to 4,805 farmers and farmland owners. This includes creating and improving profiles on the New York Farmland Finder; suggesting possible matches, visiting and evaluating land with farm seekers; providing lease templates and non-legal review of draft leases; giving referrals to professional service providers like appraisers, attorneys, and business development specialists; guiding landowners through the conservation easement process; and guiding farm families through the farm transition process.

In March, we launched the first major overhaul of the New York Farmland Finder website – a project two years in the making! The updated website features improved functionality that will allow users to navigate the site more easily and a page with resources and information in Spanish, which is the first step towards making the website and FNG-NY services available to Spanish-speaking farmers and landowners throughout New York. Our team is committed to deepening our efforts to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within our New York regional program, and has undertaken an external audit to better understand our internal strengths and shortcomings, and how we can move our work forward in a spirit of repair.

A vibrant future for farming in our state depends on helping a diverse new generation of farmers succeed. The demographics of farm labor, farm management, and farm ownership are shifting, which has inspired FNG-NY’s commitment to better support the Spanish-speaking community here in New York state, as well as other historically underserved farmers who have faced increased barriers to access land. We are thrilled to have this new, beautiful, and – most importantly – useful tool to support farmers seeking New York farmland and landowners who want to keep their land in farming.

Mike Parker, who used Farmland for a New Generation New York to find land for Sleeping Lion Farm in Cooperstown, New York noted, “It’s not just the website. It’s a program full of people who can help you along every step of the way, from finding farmland all the way to writing your lease, finding financing, and navigating government programs. Most successful cases of match-making are utilizing all of those resources.”

We have also been hard at work creating a video that highlights the voices, challenges, and successes of farmers who have navigated the land access process or are right in the middle of it. We wanted to hear directly from farmers about what makes a land access arrangement equitable and secure, and the kinds of support they are using along the way.

The video features farmers from 5 farms:

  • Sam Rose at Sunrunner Farm in Red Hook, New York
  • Christine and Fabio Ritmo at Nimble Roots Farm in Catskill, New York
  • Tianna Kennedy at Star Route Farm in Charlotteville, New York
  • Kitty Williams, Sea Matías, and Jessica Tobón of Iridescent Earth Collective, currently operating at Star Route Farm in Charlotteville, New York
  • Mike Parker at Sleeping Lion Farm in Cooperstown, New York

Hear more from these farmers by viewing the newly released video on AFT’s YouTube channel.

Meet the Team

This work would not be possible without the Farmland for a New Generation New York team at American Farmland Trust. As the Regional New York Farmland for a New Generation Manager, it’s my pleasure to introduce the incredible team behind the scenes who worked so hard to create our new website, the video featured here, and who, every day, work directly with farmers, supporting the Regional Navigator network, managing the website and newsletter, organizing training and events, and so much more!

AFT staff member Alexandra Morency stands with farmer Emma Smalley

Alexandra Morency (she/her), New York Regional Program Coordinator: Alexandra manages the New York Farmland Finder website and was instrumental in ensuring that the website update went smoothly, and that website users felt supported. Alexandra is pictured above (left) with farmer Emma Smalley, who found her “forever farm” through the FNG-NY website!

Tim Biello of American Farmland Trust

Tim Biello (he/him), New York Program Specialist: Tim provides one-on-one technical assistance to farmland seekers, farmland owners, and recently matched farmers. He provided valuable insight and thought partnership to develop both the website update and the video.

José López Ganem (he/him), Billingual New York Program Specialist: Jose is working hard to build relationships with Spanish-speaking farmers and the organizations that support them. He thoughtfully created the “Español” page on the updated website.

Olivia Fuller (she/her), New York Communications Manager: Olivia led the video creation process, coordinating with the videographer and farmers, and making sure the final product was beautiful and informative.

Ashlea Raemer (she/her), former New York Regional Program Coordinator: Before taking a new role with AFT’s Farm to Institution New York State program, Ashlea led the website update, gathering ideas and needs from users, Regional Navigators, and AFT staff, and creating the foundation for the website you see now.

Kiani Conley-Wilson (they/them), New York Regional Program Coordinator: Our newest team member, Kiani, joined us after the process of the video and website update had been completed, but they will have a crucial role in helping to make use of these tools and developing new content to support farmland seekers, farmland owners, and Regional Navigators.

Keep Connected

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About the Author
Molly Johnston-Heck

Regional Farmland for a New Generation Manager

(518) 581-0078 x 309

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