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Succession Planning and Agricultural Land Transfer

Forty percent of the nation’s agricultural land – 370 million acres – is owned or operated by seniors. The future of the land they steward is at a critical turning point. Regional food systems, local economies, and climate change solutions all depend on a new generation’s ability to access and steward the land. 

Farmland transfer is a delicate process, one that involves a complex and often emotional combination of legal, economic, and social factors. For many exiting farmers and ranchers, retirement can be a challenge, especially if they do not have heirs who are interested in taking over the farm business. For aspiring and incoming farmers, particularly those who do not come from farming or ranching families, accessing affordable land is their biggest barrier. 

Nearly 300 million acres of American farmland are expected to change hands in the next twenty years. As aging farmers exit the field, the future is uncertain for about one third of the country’s farm and ranch land. Unfortunately, many landowners and operators leave decisions about succession and land transfer until it’s too late, when their hand is forced by reasons outside their control. 


The UDAF Land Conservation Program was selected to receive a $100,000 grant from American Farmland Trust to start a Land Transfer Navigators pilot program, with the goal of dramatically increasing the transfer of agricultural land to a new generation of farmers and ranchers, including to historically marginalized or underserved demographics. 

Land Transfer Navigators is a national program developed by American Farmland Trust, with support from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), to dramatically increase the transfer of farm and ranch land to a new generation of producers. The program catalyzes practitioners from across the country to support equitable farm and ranch transfers that work for both entering and exiting generations. 

This program will bring together local professionals who support various aspects of farm and ranch transfers and create robust networks of service providers such as attorneys, appraisers, lenders, mediators, and others who specialize in agriculture who can gather to share resources and learn from each other. UDAF will host landowner workshops and provide direct technical assistance to support farm and ranch transfer planning. 

Through this direct service, our network will identify landowners and land seekers who are ready to move forward and offer technical and financial assistance to implement their transfer plans.

Start a discussion with your family or business partners TODAY and develop a vision for your farm and ranch legacy. With that vision in mind, you can work with qualified professionals to create a plan to realize your goals.


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