Resources

Farm SeekersDSC_0097

Agrarian Trust: Land access for the new generation of growers, includes narratives from farmers and landowners.

The Partnership for America’s New Farmers provides information, funding, and networking opportunities for America’s New Farmer Organizations and has an excellent Access to Land page, which has helpful information on methods and policies to access, as well as additional resources, organizations and publications.

Finding Land to Farm: Six Ways to Secure Farmland, an ATTRA publication that highlights some common ways to lease or own land. It outlines important considerations about each of these leasing options and paths to ownership.

Beginning Farmers is a comprehensive compilation of information resources on farm financing, finding land, business planning, agricultural production and marketing.

Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is a program of NC State University and NC A&T University that works closely with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations farmers, and citizens to provide agricultural research, extension, and education for our state. They also have a New Farmer Land Access Toolbox.

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Beginning Farmer Program. Each NOFA chapter dedicates programming to aspiring and just-starting farmers, and have been able to explore the needs of Beginner Farmers in their states and expand their programs to better support and serve those needs. Particular emphasis is placed on improving Beginner Farmers’ access to education and peer support and networking.

USDA New Farmers shares their expertise, advice on getting started, and a roadmap on how USDA can partner with new farmers or ranchers as you begin or expand your business. USDA offices are located across the country, throughout the communities that they serve.  The Access to Land and Capital page is especially helpful, as well as the Inventory Farmland Property for Purchase. Beginning farmers are given first priority to purchase these properties at the appraised value.           Farm Answers is the USDA-NIFA beginning farmer and rancher (BFRDP) clearinghouse, providing resources to help you get started farming, including their very helpful Farmland Access Toolbox, as well as tools to help more seasoned producers succeed.

USDA Resources for Small and Mid-sized Farmers provides small and midsize producers valuable resources and program information about access to capital, land management and conservation practices, managing risk, finding local markets, and other educational resources.

Start2Farm.gov a national Clearinghouse of information from the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program

National Young Farmers Coalition supports practices and policies that will sustain young, independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future, and affordable farmland for farmers.

There is a local chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition called WNC Young Farmers, which aims to connect and empower young farmers in Western North Carolina. They envision a country and community where young people who are willing to work, get trained and take a little risk can support themselves and their families in farming. To sign up for e-mail updates, click here.

The Greenhorns are a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators. Our mission is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers.

Land For Good, a non-profit out of Keene, NH provides an excellent toolbox on land access.

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project is an initiative of Tufts University’s that works locally, regionally, and across the country to strengthen local food systems by supporting new farmers.

NC FarmLink is a land matching web tool, which connects farmers, landowners & service providers in North Carolina. It is collaboratively managed and supported by a network of partners across the state.

Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program has an excellent online index of webinars they produce that cover a range of topics on land access, beginning farmers, marketing, record keeping, credit access, and farm transition.

California Farm Link has developed a statewide program of economic development support for beginning, limited-resource, immigrant and other underserved farmers across the state.

Vermont New Farmer Project is a program of the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture created a land access and tenure tool shed that contains articles, fact sheets, tools, links, and other resources related to farmland access and tenure. Topics include farm prospecting, farmland purchase and leasing, land stewardship, and land use regulations. The information here is relevant both to beginning farmers and to land owners who are interested in having their land farmed.

Michigan State University has an excellent website with resources on land rental arrangements, worksheets, guides and information related to land, buildings/facilities & machinery rentals.

Iowa State University’s Beginning Farmer Center develops, coordinates, and delivers targeted education to beginning and retiring farm families by providing programs and services that develop skills and knowledge in financial management and planning, legal issues, tax laws, technical production and management, leadership, sustainable agriculture, human health and the environment.

Land Tenure Options Justification Worksheet is a helpful worksheet to organize your justifications for land tenure in order to give to landowners.

Ag Lease 101 has an excellent page of different lease forms, including cash, crop-share, pasture, building, machinery and livestock rental leases.

The Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative has a variety of lease templates, including conservation oriented, national and regional, pasture and state extension leases.

Sample agricultural lease templates:

Farm Leases – Guide to farm leases, including types of leases, lease terms, and rights and duties of landlord and farmer-tenant. Phillip L. Kunkel, Jeffrey A. Peterson, Jessica A. Mitchell, University of Minnesota Extension Service, 2009

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service offers annually updated cash rent rates by county for each state. You can also search agricultural statistics by state here. Here is the same cash rent rates information in PDF form from 2016. This information comes from a county level “Cash Rents Survey” conducted every other year in all states, except Alaska. The figures are per year (not per month). It only covers cash rents.

OnPasture.com has a helpful page on Farm and Ranch Leasing Tips including:

IWANNA – To the people of the Carolinas, the name “IWANNA” is synonymous with classified advertising. A good source of local land for sale or rent.

 

Landowners

P1070963Drake University’s Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative has an excellent guide, Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing. You can download and print the guide as a PDF, though viewing the guide online is recommended in order to take advantage of several online features, including videos, links and additional information.

Land For Good, a non-profit out of Keene, NH provides an excellent toolbox on land access.

NC FarmLink is a land matching web tool, which connects farmers, landowners & service providers in North Carolina. It is collaboratively managed and supported by a network of partners across the state.

California Farm Link has developed a statewide program of economic development support for beginning, limited-resource, immigrant and other underserved farmers across the state.

Vermont New Farmer Project is a program of the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture created a land access and tenure toolshed that contains articles, fact sheets, tools, links, and other resources related to farmland access and tenure. Topics include farm prospecting, farmland purchase and leasing, land stewardship, and land use regulations. Information here is relevant both to beginning farmers and to land owners who are interested in having their land farmed.

Michigan State University has an excellent website with resources on land rental arrangements, worksheets, guides and information related to land, buildings/facilities & machinery rentals.

Iowa State University’s Beginning Farmer Center develops, coordinates, and delivers targeted education to beginning and retiring farm families by providing programs and services that develop skills and knowledge in financial management and planning, legal issues, tax laws, technical production and management, leadership, sustainable agriculture, human health and the environment.

Ag Lease 101 has an excellent page of different lease forms, including cash, crop-share, pasture, building, machinery and livestock rental leases.

The Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative has a variety of lease templates, including conservation oriented, national and regional, pasture and state extension leases.

Sample agricultural lease templates:

Farm Leases – Guide to farm leases, including types of leases, lease terms, and rights and duties of landlord and farmer-tenant. Phillip L. Kunkel, Jeffrey A. Peterson, Jessica A. Mitchell, University of Minnesota Extension Service, 2009

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service offers annually updated cash rent rates by county for each s

se agreements including examples of different arrangements. William Edwards and Ann Johanns, Iowa State University Extension Service, 2013

Farm Leases – Guide to farm leases, including types of leases, lease terms, and rights and duties of landlord and farmer-tenant. Phillip L. Kunkel, Jeffrey A. Peterson, Jessica A. Mitchell, University of Minnesota Extension Service, 2009

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service offers annually updated cash rent rates by county for each state. You can also search agricultural statistics by state here. Here is the same cash rent rates information in PDF form from 2016, which comes from a county level “Cash Rents Survey” conducted every other year in all states, except Alaska. The figures are per year (not per month). It only covers cash rents.

OnPasture.com has a helpful page on Farm and Ranch Leasing Tips including:

Present-Use Value Program Guide: In North Carolina, the Present-Use Value Program (PUV) allows certain agricultural land, horticultural land, and forestland to be assessed at a value consistent with its present use rather than its higher market value, resulting in tax break benefits. The requirements necessary are either: agricultural land with at least one 10-acre tract in actual production, horticultural land with at least one 5-acre tract in actual production or forestland with at least one 20-acre tract in actual production. Smaller tracts may also be included with the qualifying tract under certain conditions. Each agricultural and horticultural farm unit must have produced at least $1,000 average gross income over the three preceding years from the minimum acreage amount (forestland is excluded from this requirement due to the different harvesting timeline of timber).

Rōmr connects people to unique and exclusive outdoor experiences in their immediate community. With their online reservation system and the commitment and engagement of private landowners, Rōmr permits anyone to reserve any private land for any outdoor use. Their goal is to connect people with their local outdoors and help protect land with creative, profitable ventures.

 

Financing your farmlandDSC_0037

USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) loans can be excellent opportunities for farmers who are “unable to obtain financing from commercial lenders.” FSA gives special priority to beginning farmers, as long as there is a demand from beginning farmers for the loans. In the Downpayment Program, FSA makes direct farm ownership loans for up to 45% of the purchase price of the farm, or up to a maximum loan amount of $225,000. For the balance, FSA will partner with commercial lenders and provide a guarantee that FSA will bear up to 95% of risk of default. This enables lenders to extend credit to beginning farmers who would be denied a loan under other circumstances. Low interest rates, up to 4% below the normal direct farm ownership rate, also make the program attractive for beginning farmers in need of start-up assistance. For more information on the Downpayment Program or other direct farm ownership loans, contact your local FSA office, listed in the telephone directory or online.

USDA Transition Incentive Program provides for the transition of expiring Conservation Reserve Program land from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.

Carolina Farm Credit: Farm Credit representatives are very familiar working with farmers and their particular concerns. In addition to lending, they also offer financial service and advice. They are a guaranteed lender for FSA loans

Ag Plan is a free service of the University of Minnesota, which helps rural business owners develop a business plan, with tips & resources, sample business plans, and the ability to share with reviewers, print and download your plan.

Developing a Farm Business Plan – A vast list of resources for developing a farm business plan from the Beginning Farmers website.

ATTRA’s Agricultural Business Planning Templates and Resources website lists many helpful resources for business planning. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center also has a good resource site for business plans. Here is a Sample Business Proposal and a Sample 5-Year Budget Proposal.

Veggie Compass is an ongoing project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that involves the development of whole farm profit management tools and workshops. Their tools are designed to help growers improve on-farm decision making and financial farm planning in order to maximize profitability and ensure the continuation of sustainable farms.

Farmzie is a free app which connects farmers to markets while providing them with powerful marketing and transaction tools. Farmzie creates a network of real-time food supply which you can tap into regardless of who you are or where you are.

FarmersWeb makes it simple for farms, farm cooperatives, and local food artisans to streamline working with wholesale buyers such as restaurants, schools, corporate kitchens, retails stores, and more. Lessening the administrative work that comes with each order helps producers create a more successful relationship with their buyers and can help them work with more buyers overall. Buyers benefit by quick access to local products, real time knowledge of what is available, and an easy way to work with local producers.

Farmier is a farmOS hosting service, an open source app for farm management and record-keeping. Features include:

  • Map farm areas
  • Planting and harvest records
  • Livestock records
  • Equipment and maintenance records
  • Record general activities, observations, and movements

Slow Money NC provides locally supported loans to entrepreneurs in NC.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) has compiled an extensive list of grants and loans available to farmers in the Southern Appalachian region.

The Organic Growers School, based in Asheville, has an excellent document on state-wide cost-share, loans, grants, tax credits and other farm financing opportunities.

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) has a farmland protection program that aims to preserve agricultural farmland through working lands conservation easements. They are also in the process of starting a Community Farm Incubator in Alexander, NC

Kiva Zip is an innovative person-to-person lending program run by the non-profit Kiva.org. Farmers can apply for small, short-term, 0% interest loans (up to $10,000 the first time) to help finance parts of the farm business.

Equity Trust, the Massachusetts-based non-profit, provides various resources related to making farmland more affordable and for expanding the community land trust model.

OnTrackWNC is Western North Carolina’s trusted non-profit source for financial education and counseling for over 40 years. OnTrack helps people achieve their money and housing goals through financial education, credit counseling, and support so that they can overcome crises, afford their basic needs, improve their money-management skills, and make financial choices rooted in their values.

The Birds Eye Business Planning Class helps aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners to create comprehensive business plans in order to start-up, expand, or enhance their businesses. In 18 hours over 6 weekly sessions, participants will gain a clear aerial perspective of their business operations, financials, research and development, and marketing strategies. They will leave the course with a comprehensive business plan, a clear vision for their business, and concrete tasks for future work.

 

Farm-friendly Realtors

William Hamilton | Managing Partner, Broker | Sugar Hollow Realty | Fairview, NC | 828-273-5663 | william@sugarhollowrealty.com | www.sugarhollowrealty.com

Christie Melear | Residential Broker Associate | Beverly-Hanks & Associates Realtors ® | Asheville, NC | 828-684-8999 | christiemelear@beverly-hanks.com | www.beverly-hanks.com/agents/christiemelear

John Haynes | Founder/Owner| Retreat Realty, Ltd. | Black Mountain, NC | 828-773-8090 | www.retreatrealty.net

 

Legal Support

The North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program (NCAMP) has been working with North Carolina residents to resolve disputes with the US Department of Agriculture. Their county-specific Resources for Farmers page is especially helpful.

They provide free assistance as they:
Work with farmers and farm loan officers as they discuss adverse loan decisions and explore options that may qualify the farmers for assistance.
Work with farmers and USDA agents as they discuss adverse eligibility decisions on Wetlands Determinations, Conservation Reserve Programs, Crop Disaster Assistance Programs, Environmental Quality Incentive Programs, and other programs.
Work with homeowners with rural housing loans and loan officers to discuss options to avoid loan acceleration and foreclosures.
Work with farmers to resolve credit disputes with farm credit institutions, banks, farm suppliers, feed stores, vendors, veterinarians, co-ops, and custom harvesters.
Work with counties and municipalities and USDA agents as they discuss adverse determinations on community facilities loans and explore options that may qualify the governmental entity for assistance.

They provide the following services for a fee:
Work with families as they plan farm transitions.
Work with farming families as they work through divorce.
Work with multifamily housing units to mediate tenant disputes.

Land Loss Prevention Project provides legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina.

NC Leap provider of business-related legal services to low-wealth entrepreneurs and business owners in NC.

The Branan Law Firm provides business and estate planning support to farmers and landowners intent on keeping their farms, forests, and other natural resource concerns growing and productive as they pass to the next generation. This law practice concentrates on the needs and goals of farmers and owners of rural land in North Carolina and Virginia. They counsel farm operations, and work with individuals and families who want to secure, protect and develop land assets for their rural enterprise and continued enjoyment.

Ward and Smith Attorneys at Law, P.A.’s Agribusiness Practice Group have the knowledge and experience in agribusiness law to provide high-quality legal representation to a wide variety of agribusinesses throughout North Carolina and the United States.  They represent clients ranging from small farm and horticultural operations to livestock, poultry, and vegetable producers and processors.

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.

Farm Commons delivers fast-paced webinars that help farmers move forward on the legal issues that affect their farm operation, often times the topics deal with land access issues.

 

Insurance

Stanberry Insurance – Serving the Families and Businesses of Western North Carolina since 1980
From Hobby Farms to Full-Scale Commercial Agriculture, farming is a way of life worth protecting. That is why Stanberry Insurance has developed relationships with multiple Insurance Companies with a history of providing Insurance Coverages for farmers so that we can meet the needs of any operation, large or small.

· Does your farming operation include a produce stand or retail store?
· Does your farm double as a wedding destination?
· Do you have a vineyard with a wine tasting room?
· Do you host group tours or seasonal events?

Whether it’s a traditional farm, Aquaculture, AgriTourism, etc. Stanberry Insurance will be there to serve. No 1-800 numbers needed, Local Agents & Local Service

For more information please contact:
John M. Patterson
Stanberry Insurance
Commercial Insurance Risk Advisor
Office: 828-586-1362
Cell: 828-586-9497
Email: jpatterson@stanberry-ins.com

 

Farmland Succession

Farmanswers.org has a very helpful Farm Transition Planning Toolbox.

Iowa State University’s Ag Decision Maker has an excellent Whole Farm – Transition and Estate Planning, which includes articles on transferring business ownership, farm succession, enterprise operating agreements and forms of property ownership.

Your Farmland and the Future is a practical guide to help families in their succession planning efforts. This robust, 39-page white paper takes a raw, often emotional look at succession planning. Articles feature interviews with estate planners, succession experts, and farm families, with contributions from K-Coe Isom, David Baker, Home State Bank and Gordon Fischer. Steve Bruere, President of Peoples Company, co-authored this farm succession planning white paper with Teresa Opheim, Director of the Farm Transfer Program at Practical Farmers of Iowa to help individuals look at the future of their farmland and start planning.

It also includes these essential Farm Succession Planning items:

  • A farmland goal-setting guide
  • Tips from fellow farmland owners
  • A worksheet to help write your farm legacy letter
  • A list of additional useful resources

American Farmland Trust has many publications on farmland succession, including Your Land Is Your Legacy: A Guide to Planning for the Future of Your Farm, by Jeremiah Cosgrove and Julia Freedgood. This publication reviews tax issues, conservation options, and estate planning. One takeaway message from it is “it’s never too early to start planning.”

Land for Good has an extensive Toolbox on Farm Transfer Planning, including a helpful diagram of The Farm Transfer Process.

The University of Minnesota Extension Agricultural Business Management has a library of Farm Transfer and Estate Planning information.

California FarmLink has an informative Farm Succession Guidebook.

The Land Stewardship Project has a helpful Farm Transitions Toolkit, which includes sections on conservation financing, valuing sustainable practices and other resources.

The Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG) has a helpful Estate Planning page on their website, which includes publications on managing debt to prepare for farm transfer and a glossary of estate planning terms.

Rightrisk.org is an innovative risk research and education effort to help farmers and ranchers understand and explore risk management decisions and evaluate the effects of those decisions. Several of their online courses offer agricultural legacy and management succession information.

The Farmland Information Center has a publications section on ‘Transfer Your Farm or Ranch,’ which includes these publications:

The Farm Transitions Network has a variety of information about farm transfer, estate planning, and succession, including:

 

Retirement & Estate Planning

Establishing a Will  – How to plan so you can provide for your heirs the way you want to.University of Minnesota Extension

Estate Planning Terms -Brief explanations of critical estate planning concepts and terms

Estate Planning and Taxation – Comprehensive online listing of linked resources from the National Agriculture Law Center

Getting Ready for Estate Planning -Worksheets to help organize information for estate planning. Purdue University

Farm Transfer and Estate Planning Fact Sheet  Stewardship issues in estate planning. American Farmland Trust Farmland Information Center 2004, 1 page

Planning for a Secure Retirement – 10 modules include a variety of worksheets and online calculators to plan for retirement

Estate Planning Series – Series of 11 in-depth guides on estate planning, probate, long-term care, and tax topics.

 

For more information please contact:

P: 828-785-4284  or E: info@wncfarmlink.org

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