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New website helps young farmers find farmland

Finding Farmland shows users credit options, cost of land over time and tools to make a farm more affordable.

Finding Farmland (http://findingfarmland.youngfarmers.org), a new website that offers educational tools to help young farmers address the top obstacles to starting a farm — access to both land and capital — was launched by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) and Fathom Information Design. Features include a first-of-its kind land affordability calculator that makes it easy for farmers to learn about options for financing farmland and tools, such as easements, to help make it more affordable.

“Buying land is one of the most consequential decisions that a farmer will make,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of NYFC. “We built Finding Farmland to help farmers make that choice with more confidence. The tool gives users a full view of their credit options, the full cost of land over time and strategies to make a farm more affordable.”

"From down payments and loans to conservation easements, purchasing farmland can be remarkably complex,” Ben Fry, principal at Fathom Information Design, added. “We’re excited about empowering prospective owners by helping them consider different scenarios in a way that’s simple and clear."

Finding Farmland is a free educational tool for farmers and farm service providers such as extension agents and can be used as a stand-alone resource or integrated into a farm business planning course. Farmers can use the tool to analyze the financial impact the different options for financing a land purchase would have on their bottom line or to compare the overall costs of two different properties.

With two-thirds of the nation’s farmland to change hands in the next 20 years, NYFC is ramping up its work to help beginning farmers and ranchers access land. Finding Farmland is part of a larger land campaign strategy that includes farm bill and state policy advocacy, land access workshops for farmers, a land access webinar series and a national working group for land trusts.

This project is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food & Agriculture through its Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program. The current site is a beta version. The site launch will be accompanied by a series of in-person trainings around the country and additional online resources.

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