Greater Minnesota Reporter Kaomi Lee covers the story on Almanac, an award-winning public affairs show that airs statewide in Minnesota.

Farm transfers such as Singing Hills are just one of the exciting aspects of Renewing the Countryside’s work in assisting beginning farmers in accessing land.

Read more about this work with the American Farmland Trust to create a new model for farm transitions.

The Farmland Access Hub is a project of Renewing the Countryside with partners Practical Farmer of Iowa and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service

Farmland Access Hub

The Midwest Farmland Access Hub is a collective of over twenty organizations (and growing) working together to help beginning farmers secure improved access to land. Renewing the Countryside has served as the convener of the collective, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).

The work has been supported by Bush Foundation, the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), Lakewinds Food Co-op and Compeer Financial. A new, three-year BFRDP grant started in 2021 will launch a new configuration where each state will have its own lead.

With twenty organizations involved in the first iteration, our goal is to double that number in the next two years and also add more support service providers (attorneys, accountants, realtors) as members of the Hub. Renewing the Countryside, MOSES and PFI will each play a role in developing this diverse group of partners into three state Hubs. The diagram shows our plan for the structure. (Partners in Illinois are following our model and also collaborating with our work. All members of the Hub will participate in a Farmland Access Summit in 2022)

The core of the Farmland Access Hub’s success has been the work of the Farmland Access Navigators. Navigators work with farmer clients, assisting them in developing farmland access plans, answering questions, connecting them to resources with ultimate goals or either purchasing farmland or securing stable leases.  

Under our new funding five current navigators will continue their work, and we will bring on new navigators with a goal of helping more BIPOC farmers access land. We will train new Navigators with deep connections to BIPOC communities – and have them focus their efforts on assisting farmers from their communities. 

As a result of this work, we envision a multitude of thriving small and mid-scale farms supporting generations of farmers and their communities across the upper Midwest, advancing resilient and sustainable farming practices, establishing racial and ethnic equity in land access, and reversing persistent patterns of land loss and rural decline. Please join us in this important work!

How Can You Be Involved?

Are you a farmer wanting to rent or buy land?

Check out our Farmland Access Navigator team, and fill out an intake form. A Navigator will contact you to discuss how we can help, including:

  • clarifying your goals,
  • identifying priorities for suitable farmland,
  • fostering and building networks to help in the search,
  • develop basic literacy about types of financing are available,
  • reviewing personal financial readiness,
  • assessing technical and practical farming skills readiness,
  • studying elements of good and equitable farmland leases,
  • reviewing suitability of specific farms, and
  • providing specialized knowledge, expertise, and connections to professionals for further assistance

Are you an attorney, realtor, lender, land surveyor or other professional interested in helping beginning farmers get on the land? If so, contact us  to participate in our Farmland Access Hub and receive resources and training on how to best help new and beginning farmers. 

Do you own farmland that you’d like to sell or rent? Contact us! While the Farmland Access Hub is not a listing place for farmland, (see those resources listed here) we do find it helpful to hear about farmland. Our Navigators refer to the listings on the resource pages often. We will also be offering some meetup opportunities between landowners and farmland owners over the next few years.