Farmland April 12, 2014

Farmland Access Symposium 2014
Let’s put more farmers on the land and more land into farming!

April 12, 2014, Pittsfield

Berkshire Grown and Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires are convening a conversation among people and organizations working in the Berkshires to put more farmers on the land and more land into farming. We believe access to affordable farmland is critical to our food security and the sustainability of our economy. We would like to discuss with you ways we can build a more secure land base for farms, farmer housing and related businesses. Our intention is to foster dialogue among –

  • Established, new and retiring farmers seeking opportunities
  • Land owners considering options for farming on their land
  • The land conservation community connecting land owners and farmers
  • Agriculture commissions developing their local agriculture economy
  • Community food security planners seeking locally produced food
  • Sustainable community organizers attracting youth to the Berkshires
  • Financial advisors, assessors and attorneys managing transactions

This event is a collaboration of Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, Berkshire Grown, Berkshire Co-op Market, Land for Good, The Carrot Project, Great Barrington Agriculture Commission, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Schumacher Center for a New Economics and Bard College at Simon’s Rock Center for Food Studies.


10:00 – 10:10  Welcome

10:10 – 10:40  Opening Presentation, Kathy Ruhf, Executive Director, Land for Good

How can we put more farmers on the land and more land into farming? How can established farmers be supported to create a meaningful legacy for their farm? It takes a community. Farmers, service organizations, agencies, policy makers and civic leaders all have a role to play. Kathy will share her systems view of the challenges and opportunities. Drawing from 25 years of work on farmland access and tenure, she’ll weave the essential elements together to inspire action in the Berkshire region.

Kathy is a national leader in farmland access, tenure and transfer. She has co-authored guidebooks, managed projects, led workshops and worked closely with farm families on these topics. Kathy also works on beginning farmer issues and regional food systems. She is one of the authors of New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System released March 2014.

10:40 – 11:30 Farmers & Landowners Panel, Kathy Ruhf, moderator

Jen Salinetti, owner of Woven Roots Farm, farming on owned and leased land in Tyringham, MA

Bruce Howden, Farmer & Landowner, Howden Farm, Sheffield, MA and President of Berkshire County Farm Bureau

Bridget Spann, Farming on Leased Land at Caretaker Farm, Williamstown, MA

Leslie Reed-Evans, Executive Director for Land Owner Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation

11:30 – 12:00  “A Complicated APR” presented by Rick Chandler, MDAR Agriculture Business Training Program Director

Rick will share this story to illustrate the issues of conservation, buying, selling and managing a farm business. Rick has deep knowledge of Western Mass agriculture with many years’ experience working for the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources to protect and develop our agriculture economy.

12:00 Grab Your Lunch

12:15 – 12:45  Project Presentations
Adams and Williamstown Land Inventory Research Project by Sarah Gardner, Associate Director, Williams College Center for Environmental Studies and her students. Sarah is a member of the Williamstown Agriculture Commission and the Board of Directors of Berkshire Grown.

Keep Berkshires Farming Project Report by Melissa Adams and Amy Kacala. Melissa Adams, Massachusetts Representative for Glynwood and Amy Kacala, Senior Planner at The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission partnered to provide guidance to this community based planning process. They will talk about how the methodology was adapted to the Berkshires and summarize key findings and implementation projects with a focus on those that address land access. NOTE: Maps of farmland with lists of farms by name in the 32 towns in Berkshire County, which were developed during the KBF project, will be on display throughout the day at the Symposium to facilitate networking.

12:45 – 1:30  Succession, Finance & Land Access Service Provider Panel, Barbara Zheutlin, Executive Director, Berkshire Grown, moderator

Bill Martin, Vice President and Business Consultant, Farm Credit East. He has worked with farm families in New York, New England and New Jersey for since 1975. As part of his responsibilities at Farm Credit, he is the Coordinator of the GenerationNext program and on the investment committee for Farm Start LLP

Benneth Phelps, Loan & Outreach Coordinator, The Carrot Project. A farmer with a decade of Northeast farming experience, Benneth holds at Masters Degree in Land Use Planning and works directly with farmer borrowers.

Kathy Orlando, Executive Director, Sheffield Land Trust, member Sheffield Agriculture Commission and Board of Directors of Massachusetts Farm Bureau

Kathy Ruhf, Executive Director, Land For Good

Rick Chandler, Agriculture Business Training Program Director for MDAR

1:30 – 2:00 Open Conversation moderated by Billie Best, Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires

2:00 Adjourn

2:00 – 3:00 Informal Networking

DOWNLOAD SYMPOSIUM FLYER: Land Access for Farmers-v14

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