NC FarmLink and WNC FarmLink have recently merged their databases in an effort to form a stronger and more unified partnership of farm linking organizations in North Carolina. Both organizations were formed within the last five years to serve different regions of North Carolina. Now, their combined efforts not only aid farmland access for both beginning and expanding farmers but also with farmland preservation. Farmland loss is an increasing risk across the state due to retiring farmers and development pressure. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, between 2007 and 2012, North Carolina lost 2,695 farms and approximately 60,000 acres of farmland. "We are thrilled with this merger and strong partnership," says Suzanna Denison, WNC FarmLink's land access coordinator. "We are excited to move forward together as a more unified team for both farmland access and preservation in North Carolina."
FarmLink services provide opportunities for farmers and landowners to connect in order to make farmland matches possible. Now there is a single database in North Carolina for those seeking land and those looking to find a farmer in order to keep their land in agriculture. Further information can be found on the NC FarmLink website. While on this website, farmers can look for available farmland with searchable terms such as acreage, county, and current farm production. Landowners can search the farmer profiles for someone to farm their land and farmers can search these same profiles for aspiring farmers to continue farming their land when they retire. Both of these options provide a web tool that can help make farmland matches possible and ultimately assist in the preservation of North Carolina's farms. WNCFarmlink provides land matching support services to the western region of the state, including one-on-one consultations, workshops, and technical and legal land access support. The NC and WNC Farmlink services are free.
The goals of NC and WNC Farmlink include:
"At NC and WNC Farmlink, we want to help ease the challenges in either finding land to farm or someone to farm your land," Denison says. "Not only do we provide farmland matching tools, we also offer on the ground support to determine if it is a viable land match, as well as one-on-one consultations and technical support in lease arrangements, farm financing, and other factors key to successful farmland access or transition."
- Providing a web-based farmland matching service, where users can search and pursue matches on their own.
- Providing resources and service provider information, which can help support the farmland access or transition process.
- Creating farmland access opportunities that support local agriculture and economies.
- Ensuring farmland preservation in North Carolina through these farmland matching services.
About NC FarmLink:
NC Farmlink connects farmers, landowners, and service providers in North Carolina as a free land access web tool co-managed by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and WNC Farmlink. It is collaboratively managed and supported by a network of partners across the state. For more information, visit: ncfarmlink.org.
About WNC FarmLink:
WNC FarmLink matches farm and forest landowners with new and experienced farmers eager to find land to farm in WNC. The program is a free service to WNC residents. WNC FarmLink offers personalized one-on-one consultation, provides group workshops to help beginning farmers negotiate equitable leases and prepare logistically and financially for long-term land tenure and purchase, which is a major obstacle for beginning farmers. WNC FarmLink is a partnership of organizations working for farmland transition and preservation. The program is grant funded. The land access coordinator has her office in the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy offices in Asheville and is a North Carolina State University employee in the NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program. For more information, visit: wncfarmlink.org.
Contact: Suzanna Denison, WNC FarmLink land access coordinator. 828-785-4284; firstname.lastname@example.org; wncfarmlink.org
Labels: farmland access, farmland preservation, NC farmlink, wnc farmlink