RI DEM News Release: New England Farmland Finder Website Now Available

RI Department of Environmental Management

RI Department of Environmental Management

For Release: July 3, 2012
Contact: Michelle Sheehan 222-2776 ext. 4436

NEW ENGLAND FARMLAND FINDER WEBSITE NOW AVAILABLE TO LINK FARMERS WITH LANDOWNERS

PROVIDENCE – Farming is “in.” Many young and second career farmers have their hearts set on farming in New England. Armed with a passion for feeding people, working with animals, and getting their hands in the dirt, these new farmers are prepared for the hard work ahead. They just need a good piece of land to start or expand their farming dreams.

On the other hand, a growing appreciation of “local food” and valuable farm soils is leading New England landowners to connect with farmers and find creative ways to share their land. They see many advantages to renting or selling their farmland. They just need to find a farmer.

Enter the New England Farmland Finder website. This new online service helps farmers and landowners find each other. This farm property clearinghouse is free, simple, up-to-date, and privacy protected. It contains information and resource links to inform and support farm seekers and landowners.

The site was launched by a collaboration of New England organizations focusing on farmland access issues. The new service complements local and statewide efforts to match new farmers with available land. Ken Ayars, chief of DEM’s Division of Agriculture is enthusiastic about this New England-wide resource. “In our experience, people come from all over the country to farm in our area. Yet, finding land to purchase or rent can be their biggest challenge,” he said. “This new service helps make good connections. It also makes it easy for individuals, towns and organizations to let farmers know about their available farms and farmland.”

Access to farmland has been identified by the RI Agricultural Patnership’s Five Year Strategic Plan and by the RI Land Trust Council’s Farm RI 2.0 Report as one of the most pressing concerns facing the agricultural community. In order for farming to continue to be a viable profession in the state, helping new farmers find land must be a priority.

The website is part of a region-wide, USDA-funded project on farmland access directed by Land For Good (LFG). Kathy Ruhf, LFG co-director and project lead, observed, “This site complements land access programs that educate, help and support seekers and landowners. It provides a wide gateway to all these services, making them more accessible to a broader audience.”

Landowners, farm seekers and realtors are encouraged to visit newenglandfarmlandfinder.org to post or search for farm properties, and to check out the resources. The site will become increasingly useful as more properties are added.

For more information contact info@newenglandfarmlandfinder.org or Michelle Sheehan, assistant to the state land conservation program via email at michelle.sheehan@dem.ri.gov or by phone at 222-2776 ext. 4436.

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