Report: Make Farmland Access Equitable

Ernie NeffLand

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A new report claims major barriers prevent the next generation of farmers and ranchers, particularly those of color, from accessing quality, affordable farmland. The report, Land Policy: Towards a More Equitable Farming Future, was released by the National Young Farmers Coalition. See the full report here.

According to the report, land ownership in the United States is vastly unequal. The report states that 98 percent of all farmland is owned by white landowners and 95 percent of farmers are white. The report calls on policymakers to eliminate inequities in land ownership and access; protect farmland for producers; facilitate appropriate, affordable and secure land tenure; and support farm viability and transition.

 “As a coalition of farmers, land is at the heart of our work. Finding secure access to land is the number one barrier preventing a generation of growers from entering the field,” says report author and the National Young Farmers Coalition’s Land Campaign Director Holly Rippon-Butler. “Land is at the root of racial equity, food sovereignty, economic prosperity, public health and the climate crisis. As we address these issues, land must be part of the conversation.”

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A media release about the report states that a greater percentage of U.S. farmland than ever before is farmed by individuals nearing the end of their career. Hundreds of millions of acres are expected to change hands in the coming decade, it states. This represents an incredible opportunity to shift power and resources, but bold policy change is needed,” the release states. “If we do nothing, the forces of wealth accumulation and extraction from the land will continue, and we will lose a generation of young growers who are trained and ready to grow food for their communities.”

“The construct of land ownership has been deployed to dispossess Indigenous people of their land for centuries, and is tied to ongoing discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and other people of color,” the report states. “The result is immense inequity in land ownership. This history must guide us as we envision a more equitable future for farming.”

Source: National Young Farmers Coalition

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