For the past three years, the Countryside Conservancy FarmLink Program has assisted hundreds of farmers. Some of these farmers had retirement questions, some were beginning farmers looking for land and experience, and FarmLink served them all. Now we’re able to serve the growing farming population even more effectively. As part of the website redesign, we were able to move many of FarmLink’s operations onto the web. Here are the high points:
First, Farm Owners and Farm Seekers can enroll in FarmLink online. The questionnaire is submitted automatically and members are able to search the database of available farms and farmers. Becuase of this improvement, we lowered the price to $10.
Second, FarmLink has expanded its scope to include urban and suburban land and farmers. Not only are traditional, large farms available but small acreages in highly populated areas are listed, too. We’ve discovered that beginning farmers are willing to work on less than an acrea and like to farm near their homes or jobs. The Conservancy encourages land owners to list properties no matter what their size.
Third, FarmLink has expanded its territory to list farms and farmers from all over the state of Ohio. Though our programs are focused on the Northeast Ohio region, farmers and land owners from anywhere in our great state are encouraged to enroll.
Fourth, those interested in volunteering on Northeast Ohio farms can enroll online in the On Farm Volunteer Program. We accept volunteer opportunities on all kinds of farms and volunteers with all levels of experience. This program is now free of charge.
Fifth, a Transition Resource List has been added to the Resources section of the website. Retiring farmers need support in many areas including financial planning, legal assistance, insurance, and lending/leasing. This list compiles service providers in these categories that serve Ohio.
Sixth, FarmLink is pleased to offer myriad new classes on a variety of topics. The Your Farm Business Education Series kicked off last month, offering a series of seven classes to beginning farmers on business planning, finding funding, finding land to farm…etc. Registration for these classes is available online.
Thank you to those who have supported and participated in FarmLink programming since its inception three years ago. We’ve come a long way!