• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

NYT Article about the imminent demise of one of the US's oldest family farms

 
pollinator
Posts: 181
Location: Lewis County, WA
48
cat dog duck forest garden trees urban fiber arts bee
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi - I'm not sure if I placed this post in the correct forum; if not, many apologies.

I just finished reading this article in the NYT After 240 Years and 7 Generations, Forced to Sell the Family Farm, and I wondered if there is a way to combine permies who want to work the land with people who are losing their farms because of many things, but mainly because their children do not want to take over.

They're trying, but they're close to done. Maybe there's a way some folks looking for land to work can find common ground with this couple and build a community.

This is their site: HULL-O FARMS
 
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
50
goat forest garden chicken
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So sad to read this. Maybe someone who's working on their PEP skills will contact the family and move there to help them out! :-)
 
Posts: 68
Location: Unincorporated East Bay Area, CA
15
dog forest garden fungi
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is so sad, and I don't know the answer! My husband and I are nearly 50, with no kids, and want to retire on property. I'm constantly thinking about how to do it without kids. Is there an organization out there that connects young people who want to farm/work the land with older people who want to find someone to pass their resources down to? Maybe this is something that is needed?

I know my friend, who is 85, managed to find a family to buy her 200 acres for a very cheap price so she could live there until her death and they could farm it (her husband died 10 years ago), I would think a way to connect people to take over these properties would be a good thing. It seems like we are more connected than ever technologically, but we can't seem to connect in any meaningful way.
 
pollinator
Posts: 432
Location: North central Ontario
56
kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The problem is scale. They sound like a wonderful older farm couple and I feel for them but they are trying to do conventional commodities agribusiness at one tenth the scale of their competitors and it does not work. 15 30 acre farms could probably create niches for themselves with some added outside income. There is no way in hell an aspiring farmer can make a beast like that work and provide them with a decent retirement.
 
Beth Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 181
Location: Lewis County, WA
48
cat dog duck forest garden trees urban fiber arts bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kali Hermitage wrote:It seems like we are more connected than ever technologically, but we can't seem to connect in any meaningful way.



Exactly! I emailed the farm and directed them to this site before posting here.

Because the farm has been in their family for 240 years, I'm sure there is a type of muscle memory and are stories of how the land used to be worked by their grandparents. The owners might be amenable to the idea of turning back time on the way the land is worked plus adding newer sustainable permaculture methods.

Erica Colmenares wrote:So sad to read this. Maybe someone who's working on their PEP skills will contact the family and move there to help them out! :-)



Exactly. Permies are always looking for land. I believe these folks would love to stay on their farm. I hope something works out.
 
Beth Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 181
Location: Lewis County, WA
48
cat dog duck forest garden trees urban fiber arts bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Baillie wrote:The problem is scale. They sound like a wonderful older farm couple and I feel for them but they are trying to do conventional commodities agribusiness at one tenth the scale of their competitors and it does not work. 15 30 acre farms could probably create niches for themselves with some added outside income. There is no way in hell an aspiring farmer can make a beast like that work and provide them with a decent retirement.



Agreed. But what if two or three families offer to work the land while allowing the couple to keep living their lives on their land. There has to be a workable land trust. And who knows - maybe some permies would like to keep the B&B going in a more sustainable way.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: northern northern california
219
forest garden foraging trees fiber arts building medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kali Hermitage wrote:This is so sad, and I don't know the answer! My husband and I are nearly 50, with no kids, and want to retire on property. I'm constantly thinking about how to do it without kids. Is there an organization out there that connects young people who want to farm/work the land with older people who want to find someone to pass their resources down to? Maybe this is something that is needed?



i agree this is an answer. a lot of work and would take many many volunteers/workers to set it up, but its a strongly needed thing.
could also be combined with an organization who places people in WOOF type positions, internships and etc...and all the way to networking ICs, hooking up new farmers with cheap/free ish land...more permanent positions and facilitating land acquisition by beginning farmers.

i have been following a bit about this stuff...and looked into the USDA programs and what might be coming from all this stuff --->
https://landforgood.org/lap3-award/

https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837718313942
 
Kali Hermitage
Posts: 68
Location: Unincorporated East Bay Area, CA
15
dog forest garden fungi
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

leila hamaya wrote:
i have been following a bit about this stuff...and looked into the USDA programs and what might be coming from all this stuff --->
https://landforgood.org/lap3-award/

https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837718313942



Hi Liela, thanks for those resources. I also recently found out about a program that pays for you to not farm land (but restore it to native habitat) I thought that could be an interesting idea for us older people.

I think one of our biggest problems is how we now view land or property, it's no longer something to tend to and care for and pass down for the future generations, but an "investment" for individuals. I'm a firm believer in private property on a scale that people or communities can care for, not a fan of a small minority hoarding it all for themselves. I also get quite frustrated with older folks I see selling off property to the highest bidder, which inevitably leads to development, then they complain about how all the land is being developed. Well we can't have it both ways! If you want to get rich off your property then you'll most likely not be selling it to people who will maintain it. I hear a lot of this is going on in some farming areas near small towns and universities, land is being bought up and developed by foreign investment, driving up prices above what regular people can buy (I know it's driving property out of our price range in the area we are looking).

I guess we all need to change our priorities from the right now to caring about the future. I'm not all that hopeful we will.
 
pollinator
Posts: 170
Location: Zone 6a
25
homeschooling hugelkultur kids personal care trees books food preservation cooking medical herbs bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kali Hermitage wrote:This is so sad, and I don't know the answer! My husband and I are nearly 50, with no kids, and want to retire on property. I'm constantly thinking about how to do it without kids. Is there an organization out there that connects young people who want to farm/work the land with older people who want to find someone to pass their resources down to? Maybe this is something that is needed?

I know my friend, who is 85, managed to find a family to buy her 200 acres for a very cheap price so she could live there until her death and they could farm it (her husband died 10 years ago), I would think a way to connect people to take over these properties would be a good thing. It seems like we are more connected than ever technologically, but we can't seem to connect in any meaningful way.



OEFFA in Ohio has a land/farmer linking service.  Here's the link to it: http://www.heartlandfarmlink.org/
 
pollinator
Posts: 4958
1154
transportation duck trees rabbit tiny house chicken earthworks building woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Holy crap, I did not know I was one of the oldest farms in the country! I am a 9th Generational Farm, having officially started in 1746. My kids will be the 10th generation...

That aside, there are FarmLink Programs in every state I think, but they tend to be scams for both the Farm Owner and Potential Farmer. I have talked at length about that on here before.

In short, the number of farmers LOOKING greatly outnumber the farms AVAILABLE, so the new farmers pay a fee yearly, and get put on a waiting list that they are on for years.

For the farm owner, it is worse. The FarmLink Programs have an annual fee that must be paid, and there is fine print allowing the farm to be sold off in lots. They do this under the guise of providing potential farmhand housing, but really they get the farm, and then sell off the house lots that have views, access, etc for the most money. Then they sell the farm to the beginner farmer who has to pay the fees again.

Essentially a farm owner is selling off a lot of rights that their land comes bundled with, like a bunch of Asparagus with an elastic band...water rights, mineral rights, timber rights, the right to build, right of ways, oil leases, etc...which is what really irks me. I lose enough rights as a land owner every year, I do not need to PAY the FarmLink programs more moey...yearly...to lose more rights. The lawyer for our local FarmLink program hates me because I let everyone I know that it is a scam.

It really is a crappy deal, and farmers have known this for years, so most farms stay away from them like the plague.

I know first hand that as a multi-generational farm, people often state that they "want to help the farmer", but the reality is, so few actually want to farm. With 1/2% of the people in this country actually being full-time farmers (1 out of 200 people), we really need more farmers, and less people talking about helping us. The USDA alone has 100,000 employees. Do we really need 1 USDA employee for every 15 farmers? How about...wait for it...more farmers actually farming the land?
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: northern northern california
219
forest garden foraging trees fiber arts building medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
^^^this is interesting, i have been wondering about them.

i have just lurked around groups like this, but i can say that all the groups i have lurked around are free to join and post, and also what i lurk for are more internship type opportunities, land shares, and other possibilities, where there are usually good postings for people looking for those types of arrangements.

so not to say i advocate for these groups, just to say i have been watching this and reading about this and wondering if this can be an answer, if they figure out how to really help with land access. at least there is some growing awareness that this is a significant issue that needs to be sorted...

but yeah when i read about these...billions of dollars being put towards trying to solve these issues...and instead its just paying for committees to sit around trying to figure out ineffective solutions...
and thats where billions of dollars go...

i definitely have thoughts like...why don't they just not take those millions and - straight out buy farmland and give it to new farmers...or pay off existing farmer's mortgages, etc...or use some of our public land to create more farmland for cheap/free lifetime lease or etc...

at the least there are some good programs under the USDA for rural housing/farmland...like the no down payment...where the grant money pays the down payment...but with that they need to change their requirements in regards to student loans. now this may seem like a fussy point but it's actually a major problem with who can qualify for those grant programs...because of the way they count student loan debt, they consider the whole debt as though you must pay it off at all once, instead of factoring in only the monthly payments, which for some can be 0-50$ a month...

but yeah besides that point, overall thats one of the only programs i know of that has actually been a major help to getting land access...if only you have no student loan debt.

well it could be a solution i think...if these farm links groups were better at actually helping with cheap/free land access...or helping out older farmers wanting to see their farmland continue to be farmland.
i dont know what would need to be changed to have a farmlink program that was better...but i do think there is a need for this...an organization that could match up people with opportunities....network all the people who are already looking for these types of arrangements.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1577
Location: Victoria BC
229
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Travis Johnson wrote:Holy crap, I did not know I was one of the oldest farms in the country! I am a 9th Generational Farm, having officially started in 1746. My kids will be the 10th generation...

That aside, there are FarmLink Programs in every state I think, but they tend to be scams for both the Farm Owner and Potential Farmer. I have talked at length about that on here before.

In short, the number of farmers LOOKING greatly outnumber the farms AVAILABLE, so the new farmers pay a fee yearly, and get put on a waiting list that they are on for years.

For the farm owner, it is worse. The FarmLink Programs have an annual fee that must be paid, and there is fine print allowing the farm to be sold off in lots. They do this under the guise of providing potential farmhand housing, but really they get the farm, and then sell off the house lots that have views, access, etc for the most money. Then they sell the farm to the beginner farmer who has to pay the fees again.

Essentially a farm owner is selling off a lot of rights that their land comes bundled with, like a bunch of Asparagus with an elastic band...water rights, mineral rights, timber rights, the right to build, right of ways, oil leases, etc...which is what really irks me. I lose enough rights as a land owner every year, I do not need to PAY the FarmLink programs more moey...yearly...to lose more rights. The lawyer for our local FarmLink program hates me because I let everyone I know that it is a scam.

It really is a crappy deal, and farmers have known this for years, so most farms stay away from them like the plague.

I know first hand that as a multi-generational farm, people often state that they "want to help the farmer", but the reality is, so few actually want to farm. With 1/2% of the people in this country actually being full-time farmers (1 out of 200 people), we really need more farmers, and less people talking about helping us. The USDA alone has 100,000 employees. Do we really need 1 USDA employee for every 15 farmers? How about...wait for it...more farmers actually farming the land?



Wow, that sounds like an awful scam.

In my area the problems seem almost perfectly reversed.

There is a nonprofit that does land linking, no cost. And, the majority of the best farmland is in the agricultural land reserve, which among other things mostly blocks subdivision.

But, it also blocks most auxiliary housing. If you have a 1000 acre farm, you may have 1 house on it. They are talking about maybe partly undoing a recent change, which would allow two houses, one capped at 5000sf, the second capped at 960sf.

The housing caps don't scale, so a 3 acre property in the ALR can have exactly the same houses. And, you can't subdivide that 1000 acre farm.

They say they will allow housing for fulltime necessary farm-workers.. but the allowable structures are barracks, not real long term housing suitable for families. And, to get permission for # units of 'housing', you have to have ### head of cattle, or #### chickens, or ## acres of blueberries, etc. The numbers are based on conventional, mechanized, chemical, CAFO style farming, so if you are doing anything else, you can't house anything like the number of people you could use, and probably youbare below the cutoff and can't house any.


The reality is in this area most people WOOFing, interning, or trying to farm a portion of a larger farm are living in some sort of temporary housing; rv, tinyhouse, cabin..

The changes to regulation last year explicitly define all possible temp housing options right down to a tent as 'dwellings', in order to cover them in the ban on additional dwellings...
 
gardener
Posts: 2123
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
946
hugelkultur kids forest garden fungi trees books bike homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The American Farmland Trust is a national organization that is trying to work with farmers and protect farmland. Might be worth looking at what they do and see what options there are. There are also more local farmland trusts that can be good resources. In general these organizations try to keep farmland from being sold off to developers by working with willing landowners to buy and then retire development rights and in some cases find farmers to keep the land actively being farmed.

I have connected with them a few times at conferences and through my work with a conservation focused land trust but I don't know a lot about the details of their work. But it could be worth looking into for people wanting to protect farmland or connect with farmers. Last time I connected with them at a conference they were talking a lot about the issue of getting new farmers on farmland.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1437
Location: Denmark 57N
408
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

D Nikolls wrote:

They say they will allow housing for fulltime necessary farm-workers.. but the allowable structures are barracks, not real long term housing suitable for families. And, to get permission for # units of 'housing', you have to have ### head of cattle, or #### chickens, or ## acres of blueberries, etc. The numbers are based on conventional, mechanized, chemical, CAFO style farming, so if you are doing anything else, you can't house anything like the number of people you could use, and probably youbare below the cutoff and can't house any.


The reality is in this area most people WOOFing, interning, or trying to farm a portion of a larger farm are living in some sort of temporary housing; rv, tinyhouse, cabin..

The changes to regulation last year explicitly define all possible temp housing options right down to a tent as 'dwellings', in order to cover them in the ban on additional dwellings...



The way round that in the UK is to build housing with an "Agricultural tie" meaning...

The occupation of the dwelling shall be limited to a person solely or mainly working, or last working, in the locality in agriculture or in forestry, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependants.


Definition of Agriculture

Horticulture, fruit growing, seed growing, dairy farming, the breeding and keeping of livestock including any creature kept for the production of food, wool, skins or fur, or for the purpose of its use in the farming of the land, the use of land as osier land, market gardens and nursery grounds and the use of land for woodland where that use is ancillary to the farming of the land for other agricultural purposes.

 
T.J. Stewart
pollinator
Posts: 170
Location: Zone 6a
25
homeschooling hugelkultur kids personal care trees books food preservation cooking medical herbs bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Travis Johnson wrote:Holy crap, I did not know I was one of the oldest farms in the country! I am a 9th Generational Farm, having officially started in 1746. My kids will be the 10th generation...

That aside, there are FarmLink Programs in every state I think, but they tend to be scams for both the Farm Owner and Potential Farmer. I have talked at length about that on here before.

In short, the number of farmers LOOKING greatly outnumber the farms AVAILABLE, so the new farmers pay a fee yearly, and get put on a waiting list that they are on for years.

For the farm owner, it is worse. The FarmLink Programs have an annual fee that must be paid, and there is fine print allowing the farm to be sold off in lots. They do this under the guise of providing potential farmhand housing, but really they get the farm, and then sell off the house lots that have views, access, etc for the most money. Then they sell the farm to the beginner farmer who has to pay the fees again.

Essentially a farm owner is selling off a lot of rights that their land comes bundled with, like a bunch of Asparagus with an elastic band...water rights, mineral rights, timber rights, the right to build, right of ways, oil leases, etc...which is what really irks me. I lose enough rights as a land owner every year, I do not need to PAY the FarmLink programs more moey...yearly...to lose more rights. The lawyer for our local FarmLink program hates me because I let everyone I know that it is a scam.

It really is a crappy deal, and farmers have known this for years, so most farms stay away from them like the plague.

I know first hand that as a multi-generational farm, people often state that they "want to help the farmer", but the reality is, so few actually want to farm. With 1/2% of the people in this country actually being full-time farmers (1 out of 200 people), we really need more farmers, and less people talking about helping us. The USDA alone has 100,000 employees. Do we really need 1 USDA employee for every 15 farmers? How about...wait for it...more farmers actually farming the land?



Not sure about other organizations, but OEFFA does not operate in this fashion.  They have a lot of resources that help people protect farmland too.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 2455
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
388
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I doubt it. We know several farmers in the area whose kids have 0 interest in continuing the farm. The kids will sell the land and it is worth quite a bit. I can't imagine the decedents of these farmers who have no interest in farming giving up the $$$$ the land could bring them.
 
Do not threaten THIS beaver! Not even with this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/7/rmhplans
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic