Workshop for farmland seekers and retiring or transitioning farmers to be held in Kalamazoo

Sessions will focus on land access and conservation.

According to American Farmland Trust, the lack of affordable farmland is a significant barrier for new and beginning farmers. In addition, retiring farmers often report having to sell their land for development because they cannot find someone willing to farm their land. The situation in southwest Michigan is no different. Access to farmland for agriculture and conservation purposes is an important issue as more and more farmland will change hands in the coming years. Bringing together beginning and transitioning farmers in a way that allows for education and networking is one way create bridges that may protect and keep farmland viable for future generations of producers.

Southwest Land Access Partners will hold its first educational summit, Transitioning Farmland to the Next Generation of Farmers on February 2, 2018, at Kalamazoo Valley College, Culinary Allied Health Building from 9:30 AM- 3:30 PM. The goal of this educational summit is to help landowners understand succession planning as it pertains to land protection and transfer and to assist beginning farmers in understanding how to acquire land.

There will be separate breakout sessions in the morning for farmland seekers and retiring or transitioning farmers. After lunch, the full group will unite for a panel of farmers and resource providers. Registration for the workshop is $20 and the registration form is available here. This workshop takes place the day before the Michigan Family Farms Conference, also held in Kalamazoo. Registration for the Transitioning Farmland to the Next Generation of Farmers workshop will allow participants to attend the Michigan Family Farms Conference for a discounted price of $25.

Southwest Land Access Partners is a group of educators, non-profit organizations and government agencies, including Michigan State University Extension Educators. This group is connected to the Good Food Kalamazoo working group focused on farmland use and access in the greater Kalamazoo area.

Michigan State University Extension’s Community Food Systems Work Team supports the development of local food systems in Michigan. For more information, connect with your local community food systems educator by visiting calling 1-888-678-3464.

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