University of Vermont

The Farm LASTS Project Online Manual

IV. Proceedings: Changing Lands, Changing Hands Conference.

About the Conference

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The Changing Lands, Changing Hands onference on farm and ranch land access, succession, tenure, and stewardship was held on June 10-11, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. It was the first national conference to address these critically important issues. More than 160 Extension and other educators, agricultural service professionals, agency staff, farm and other non-governmental groups, and policymakers gathered to present, share and evaluate successful and new approaches and tools to address land access, succession and stewardship.

Participants heard findings and recommendations from two years of research and curriculum development by the FarmLASTS Project. Together, we addressed barriers such as affordability and transferring management. We examined regionally appropriate strategies for promoting access, secure tenure, conservation and future business viability. We discussed how to strengthen service networks to improve assistance to farming and ranching families and new entrants. We addressed the unique needs of special farming populations such as women, immigrants, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Participants also contributed their knowledge and suggestions about model programs and policies which were incorporated into the final project reports.

Plenary Sessions

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Opening Plenary Panel: The Landscape

  • Michael Duffy, Iowa State University (PDF)
  • Mark Falcone, USDA/Farm Service Agency (PDF )

Track 1. Land Access and Tenure

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New Players in Farm/Ranch Financing

IDAs, equity investors and other innovative financing models for getting farmers onto the land.

  • Robert Karp, New Spirit Ventures (WI) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Steve Schwartz, California Farm Link (PDF)
  • Quint Redmond, Agriburbia (CO) (PDF)

Federal and State Policy Issues and Innovations

Experts shared what's new, what's working and what's next in the policy arena.

  • Traci Bruckner, Center for Rural Affairs (NE)
  • Michael Duffy, IA State University (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Fred Hoefner, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
  • Dave Kimmel, NJ Department of Agriculture (PDF) (Presentation)

Tenancy: Opportunity or Serfdom?

Nearly half U.S. farmers and ranchers rent some or all their land. The pros and cons of non-ownership tenure are covered here.

  • J. Gordon Arbuckle (IA State University) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Derek Christianson, Brix Bounty Farm (MA)
  • Ellie Kastanopolous, Equity Trust (MA) (PDF)
  • Karl Kupers, Shepherd's Grain (WA)

Preparing the Next Generation: Land Access Curricula

A FarmLASTS curriculum for academic courses and community-based farmer training programs.

Land Access and Affordability

A look at affordability issues and new models to make land moreaffordable for farm entrants.

  • Derek Christianson, Brix Bounty Farm (MA) (PDF)
  • Jess Gilbert and Chandra Hinton, University of Wisconsin/Madison
  • Steve Schwartz, California FarmLink (PDF)
  • Alex Wylie, Vermont Land Trust ("PDF) (Presentation)

Incubator and Mentoring Programs: Pathways to Land Acquisition

Creative programs that help new farmers find and get onto land.

  • Altfrid Krusenbaum (Krusen Grass Farm, WI) (Presentation)
  • Gary Peterson, ALBA (CA) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Steve Stevenson, FarmLASTS Project (WI) (PDF)

Minority and Immigrant Farmer and Land Issues

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Issues like fractionation, heir property, cultural differences and language barriers are addressed.

  • Marsha Goetting, University of Montana (PDF)(Presentation)
  • Dania Davey, Land Loss Prevention Project (NC)
  • Gary Peterson, ALBA and New Immigrant Farming Initiative (CA) (PDF)

Track 2. Succession

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Farm/Ranch Succession Education, Programs and Services

Find out what's out there and what's working well to help exiting farm and ranch families

International Perspective: Research, Programs and Policies

What the U.S. can learn from Canada, Europe and elsewhere about farm entry and exit.

  • John Baker, Iowa State University (PDF)
  • Peter Coughler, Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (Ontario)
  • Matthew Lobley, University of Exeter (UK) (Presentation)

Linking Programs: What Works, What's Next

A roundtable discussion about farm link program successes and challenges.

  • Dave Baker, Iowa State University (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Andrew Branan, North Carolina Farm Transition Network (PDF)
  • Wyatt Fraas, Center for Rural Affairs (NE) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Reggie Knox, California Farm Link (PDF)

Farm Viability, Business Planning and Transfer

Can the farm business survive a transfer to the next generation or owner?

The "Soft Issues:" Communication and Conflict in Succession Planning

Goals, vision, values, family dynamics, communication styles… these can make or break succession planning

Transferring Management: The Overlooked Challenge

Passing on management and strategies to help families succeed. Two joint presentations (Presentation 1 &Presentation 2) by:

  • John Baker, Iowa State University
  • Rodney Jones, Kansas State University

Women at the Table

As farm operator, farmer's partner, widow or entrant, women have unique challenges and offerings.

  • Sharon Danes, University of Minnesota (PDF)(Presentation)
  • Debra Heleba, University of Vermont
  • Denise O'Brien, Women, Food & Agriculture Network (IA) (PDF)

Track 3. Land Use, Conservation and Stewardship

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Public Policy, Conservation and Stewardship

How can public policy encourage landowners and operators to improve farm and ranch conservation?

  • Traci Bruckner, Center for Rural Affairs (NE) (PDF)
  • Bob Wagner, American Farmland Trust (MA) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Chris West, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust

Meeting Landlord and Tenant Conservation Interests

The best ideas for integrating conservation and stewardship into lease agreements.

  • Mike Bell and Julie Keller, University of Wisconsin/Madison (PDF)
  • Tom Buman, AGREN (IA) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Karl Kupers, Shepherd's Grain (WA)
  • Denise O'Brien, Women, Food & Agriculture Network (IA) (PDF)

Land Trusts, Ag. Easements, Active Use and Conservation

Successful models for working land tenure from the land trust community.

  • Jen Johnson, The Nature Conservancy (CO) (PDF)
  • Ellie Kastanopolous, Equity Trust (MA)
  • Bob Wagner, American Farmland Trust (MA)(PDF) (Presentation)
  • Alex Wylie, Vermont Land Trust (PDF) (Presentation)

Non-farming Landowners, Land Use and Conservation

Farming opportunities and uses on Federal parkland, municipal open spaces, land trust land and intentional communities.

  • Virginia Kasinki, Glynwood Center (NY) (PDF)
  • Darwin Kelsey, Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy (OH) (PDF) (Presentation)
  • Altfrid Krusenbaum (Krusen Grass Farm, WI) (PDF)
  • Mike Sands, Prairie Crossing (IL) (PDF) (Presentation) (Brochure)

Land Use Rights and Legal Issues

Current hot topics such as wind energy leases.

  • Scott Buchanan, Buchanan, Bibler, Gabor & Meis, (IA) (PDF)(PDF 2)(Presentation)
  • Neil Hamilton, Drake Agricultural Law Center (IA)
  • Frank Falen, Budd-Falen Law Offices (WY) (PDF)

The Cutting Edge on the Urban Edge

Creative opportunities to get onto farmland in metro and suburban areas.


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Many thanks to the following conference sponsors.

Lead Sponsors

  • The Farm Credit System

    Major Sponsors

  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Colorado State University
  • Drake University Agricultural Law Center


  • International Farm Transition Network
  • USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)
  • The Nature Conservancy (CO)
  • WealthCounsel


  • Land For Good
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology/ATTRA
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
  • The TSR Group

    Last modified November 08 2012 12:33 PM

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