Young Farmer Land Access (over $11,000,000 of commitments since 2012)
There is a growing crisis in farming communities across the country. More and more young people today are interested in farming as a career. They are also looking to make production changes and grow more nutritious, healthy and local foods. However, access to farmland is increasingly more expensive and difficult. This is the business need that we fill. We maintain a list of young farmers who are growing their sustainable farming business and wanting to lease or purchase more farmland. After an extended review by company management, these farmers become eligible for tenancy on future farmland acquisitions. Many are third or fourth generation farmers.
The National Young Farmers Coalition cites access to land and access to capital as some of the greatest barriers for young organic farmers attempting to establish their operation. Iroquois Valley Farms, by providing long-term leases with a path to ownership as well as mortgage financing, directly addresses problems facing the next generation of farmers. The Company’s farmers are 72% millennial by tenancy; by contrast, baby boomers are the nation’s largest farming population. According to the USDA, 10% of land (91.5 million acres) is expected to change hands in the next five years alone. Iroquois Valley Farms’ focus on land access for the next generation responds to this reality by enabling young farmers to establish their organic operations. By providing long term leases and mortgage financing, as opposed to typical land lease arrangements of 1-3 years, Iroquois Valley Farms empowers farmers to transition to organic (a three year process). Because organic farmers invest significantly in the land they transition and farm, it is imperative that they have the land security to do so.
Moreover, the demand for organic food in the U.S. is far outpacing organic production on U.S. farmland. U.S. certified organic farmland continues to be estimated (by the USDA) at 1% of total agricultural acreage. Iroquois Valley Farms’ investment in growing organic acreage within the U.S. by working with organic farmers impacts public access to healthy food produced using ecologically sound methods. Essentially, Iroquois Valley Farms’ diversified portfolio of farms in 11 states impacts the communities in which our farmers operate; this geographically diverse presence therefore contributes to building a more organic and sustainable food system.
As information, we are actively seeking young farmers with a diversity of farming operations, including grains, local and organic foods, vegetables and pastured livestock. If you are a young farmer interested in growing your sustainable agriculture farmland acres, get in contact with us.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost