Applications to the Navigator Network are open through December 7th. Apply today!

Nearly one in three farmers across the Great Lakes is over 65 and will likely be transferring their farms in the next 15 years. These farms, and conservation investments on them, are at risk of being converted to real estate development.

At the same time, women, People of Color, and LGBTIQIA+ people are increasingly becoming the next generation of farmers and farmland owners. This new generation has historically been underserved by conservation programs and are often not likely to inherit farms.

These massive challenges present opportunities to promote conservation through successful farm transfers and create more equitable paths to land access in the Great Lakes Watershed.

The project aims to support the ecological health of the Great Lakes while sustaining a viable agricultural economy and communities.
To reach this goal, American Farmland Trust and our partners will:

Connect and support a network of skilled Navigators who will advance an integrated approach to farm transfer and conservation farming practices.

Navigators will:
• Support farmers and landowners to identify goals, assess options, and develop plans.
• Train and advise on conservation and farm transfer planning.
• Link farmers and landowners to programs, resources, and technical experts.

Adapt trainings to integrate farm transfer and conservation planning. AFT uses small group and one-on-one technical assistance to facilitate dialogue and learning among farmers and landowners. In particular, the Learning Circle approach, modeled after a structure used with women producers and landowners, has been well received among adult learners, but it is reliant on local professional facilitation skills for long term success.

Navigators will:
• Be trained to facilitate Learning Circles.
• Host conservation and transfer workshops using a learning circle model.
• Connect networks of women and senior landowners and beginning farmers.

Offer microgrants and technical assistance to beginning farmers and landowners in the Great Lakes Watershed to implement conservation and transfer plans. Funding to implement conservation or transfer plans can be expensive and prohibitive. To alleviate some of these barriers to success, the project will offer financial support along with technical assistance.

Applications are currently being accepted through December 7th, 2022.

Read our project overview and application guidelines to determine if you’re ready to apply!