Oct 14, 2019Ohio group launches Heartland FarmLink service for farms
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has launched Heartland FarmLink, a new land linking service for farm seekers and farm owners.
HeartlandFarmLink.org is a free online profile listing service where beginning farmers and farm land owners can review potential matches, contact each other, and find resources to help with the financial, legal, and communication challenges inherent in farm transfer.
Ohio ranks sixth in the nation with a total of 33,885 beginning farmers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. These young farmers, increasingly well trained and eager, struggle to find affordable farm land. At the same time, the average age of Ohio farmers remains unsustainably high, at 55.8 years. Retiring farmers, particularly those without a family member interested in taking over the farm, want to keep the land in use for agriculture but struggle to find a way to achieve that.
“We created this site because of member demand,” explains Rachel Tayse, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program Coordinator. “Farmers frequently contacted OEFFA looking for a new person to carry on their sustainable farm, and beginning farmers reached out for help finding land. Heartland FarmLink is a convenient way for farmers in these situations to find opportunities.”
Users can create a free account at HeartlandFarmLink.org to contact individuals who have made a profile, and opt in to email notifications when new profiles are added. Once the account has been created, users can make a profile to advertise their land or farmer opportunity. Listings can specify the desire for sale, lease, or co-operative partnerships.
In addition to the online profiles, OEFFA supports farm land transfer with workshops, facilitation assistance, and a Service Provider Network. OEFFA members have been championing Ohio House Bill 183, the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, which incentivizes the transfer of established farmland to beginning farmers.
“Long-term, our food security, rural revitalization, and farmland preservation are intrinsically tied to the success of beginning farmers,” said Tayse.