The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) is developing a free, internet-based Farm-Link program to help connect farm seekers with farmland owners. The program will provide participants with information, resources and services that support farmland preservation and sustainable agriculture by connecting farm seekers with farmland owners to explore transfer options including leasing, sale, apprenticeships as well as conservation.
“We believe NWA Farm-Link will complement other agriculture service provider efforts and real estate professionals in our area with expertise in farm transfer,” said Susan Koehler, Farmland Programs Coordinator at NWALT. “Long term, we want to ensure local working lands remain productive, return to agricultural use or become more sustainable. This starts by meeting people where they are in their journey to farm, or in their farm legacy planning, so they can realize their goals.”
NWALT anticipates the Farm-Link website will be completed this fall and has begun recruiting interested farm seekers and farmland owners. Those interested in participating or learning more should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 479-966-4666.
Farmland owners with properties in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington Counties will be able to share information about their land and operations to farm seekers via the website, including new, beginning, underserved, and landless farmers, or those looking to expand or scale their operations. Farmland owners will be able to maintain their privacy until they are ready to disclose more information to seekers and explore possible lease, sale or other transfer arrangements. The program is open to landowners regardless of their farming history or status. Absentee landowners, municipalities and corporate landowners are welcome. Property postings will be reviewed by NWALT staff to ensure they are suitable for a variety of operations including sustainable agriculture production, organic, certified naturally grown and regenerative practices.
Farm seekers, regardless of residence in the area, state or elsewhere, will be able to create a profile about themselves, their farm experience and farm business goals. Sensitive farm seeker information will also remain private until the user wishes to disclose more. Growers interested in fruit and vegetable production are encouraged to participate due to increasing demand and NWA’s projected population growth.
A variety of resources will be made available to all participants, including farm business planning and transfer information, farm lease and other agreement templates, succession planning resources, and soil data. Program services will include site visits, meeting facilitation and some technical assistance.
NWA Farm-Link was made possible by a grant to the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust from the Walton Family Foundation. Simplemachine web design firm in Bentonville is developing the NWA Farm-Link website.