Land prices are biggest hurdle for small farmers to start and stay farming
The president and CEO of the nation’s largest ag lender says land prices are the largest obstacles for the next generation of farmers.
Todd Van Hoose is with Farm Credit. “For many years those who owned land felt like that was a great asset and has been and it’s been very supportive especially through some tough years with commodity markets,” Van Hoose says. “The flip side of that is, it is a barrier to entry.”
He tells Brownfield young farmers are finding innovative ways to get involved. “We’re also seeing a good amount of less land-intensive farming operations whether it’s on the urban fringe or whether it’s specialty markets, direct to consumer – that’s a lot of opportunity in there for young, beginning farmers.”
And, Van Hoose says buyers and sellers are finding new ways to exchange land. “One-on-one negotiations where maybe you don’t buy the land right off, maybe you do a contract with somebody,” he says. “There’s a lot of different ways to get involved. Maybe you’re an operator for awhile before you’re an owner.”
Data from Farm Credit shows young, small and beginning farmers had loans that hit all-time highs in 2020.