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2nd Annual Farmland Access Conference to tackle some of the trickiest issues facing farmers today

Maine Farmland Trust invites farmers, landowners to 2nd Annual Farmland Access Conference

Maine Farmland Trust will convene the second annual Farmland Access Conference on December 5, 2016 at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. The day-long conference will delve into some of the stickiest issues facing farming today, and workshops will grapple with the challenges of how to provide for a farm’s future when a farmer is ready to retire, and how next generation farmers can take on the stewardship of farmland in transition, and shepherd the future of Maine’s food system.

According to Erica Buswell, Maine Farmland Trust’s Farmland Access Program Manager and Incoming Vice President of Programs: “In the next decade, more than 400,000 acres of Maine farmland will transition in ownership, raising the question: what will happen to that land? To ensure this farmland stays in production, all of us must find a way to support land transition with programs that help farmland owners and make land available and affordable for farmers.”

The keynote address, “A Vision for the Future of New England’s Working Farmland,” will be delivered by Brian Donahue, co-author of A New England Food Vision and Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University. Donahue is also a farmer in Western Massachusetts.

A New England Food Vision describes a future in which New England produces at least half of the region’s food – and no one goes hungry. It looks ahead half a century and sees farming and fishing as important regional economic forces; forests, farmlands, soils and waterways cared for sustainably; healthy diets as a norm; and access to food valued as a basic human right. Where will we find the land, and connect it with farmers? Today’s New England farmers—both those who are transitioning out of farming and those who are starting new farm enterprises—will have a pivotal role in shaping the future of our regional food system. How will we rise to the challenge of working together to ensure that farmland will be available to support the food system imagined by the New England Food Vision?

The conference will include topics geared toward:

  • Retiring farmers interested in transferring land to next generation farmers;
  • Non-farming landowners that have an interest in making land available for farming;
  • Service providers, including land trusts, conservation commissions, town planners, lenders, etc., with an interest in fostering affordable farmland access; and
  • Farmers seeking affordable farmland

Workshops will be held on topics such as: strategies for financing farmland access opportunities, tools for enabling farm transfers, ideas for farmer collaborations that can help create farmland access, land tenure for urban agriculture, and integrating farmland protection into a transfer or estate plan. Conference presenters include local farmers and service providers working on the ground in Maine, as well as experts from around New England.

Exhibits and networking opportunities will be available throughout the day, and the conference is generously sponsored by Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation, Land For Good, Cooperative Development Institute, and others.

For more information and to register, go to the events section of this website or call (207) 338-6575.



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