Revamped Virginia Farm Link is a ‘one-stop shop’ for farmland transition
A familiar online resource has been updated to better connect beginning and expanding farmers with retiring farmland owners who want to keep their land in agricultural production.
Stefanie Taillon, senior assistant director of VFBF governmental relations, said the program started at Farm Bureau in the early 2000s as an Excel spreadsheet of available agricultural lands. Now the program is housed at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Farmland Preservation. The purpose of the partnership program is to keep Virginia’s prime agricultural working lands in production, and assist farmers who are in search of farm transition and succession planning resources.
“The Virginia Farm Link program is a resource designed to help folks looking to transition their land, who perhaps don’t have a son or daughter to pass the land on to,” Taillon explained. “We hope it’ll be a one-stop shop for all your farm transition needs.”
Profiles are created through the Virginia Farm Link database for landowners facing retirement, and farm seekers in search of business arrangements through which they can acquire land, equipment and experience. Farmers seeking land are matched with farmland owners in the database, according to needs outlined in their profiles.
The program also provides assistance with preparing business transition plans and facilitation of transfers; information on innovative farming methods and techniques; and research assistance for agricultural, financial and marketing needs.
“Access to land and capital are the top barriers to farming,” Taillon explained. “We want to make it easy and fair for everyone, so providing these opportunities is a goal for Farm Link.”
Jennifer Perkins, coordinator of the VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation, can help users navigate the site and offer assistance in building profiles.
“If you do not have a need to post land or look for farming opportunities, the Farm Link site also offers farm transition guidance and can help you get started with succession planning and having those conversations with your family,” Perkins said. “It’s never too early to begin.”
The program is free for participants. Costs are covered in part by funding from the Virginia agriculture license plate program. For more information, visit virginiafarmlink.org or @VAFarmLink on social media.