Minnesota Farm Link is a web-based tool designed to link farmers and farmland. Minnesota Farm Link includes all types of farming, from small fruit and vegetable farms, to large grain and livestock operations. Whether it’s helping someone find a farm, matching an experienced or retiring farmer with a beginning farmer, or exploring mentoring opportunities, the goal is to connect people.
The presentations in this session from American Farmland Trust's Farmland, Food and Livable Communities Conference discuss how local governments can play an important public policy role to support farmers, food production and food security for all community residents. The presentations explore results from recent research on how local governments are developing and implementing a wide range of innovative programs, regulations, laws, financial investment, and other policies to address agricultural viability and community food security.
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service offers Land Link-Up, an online list where those seeking land to farm and farmland owners can post descriptions of farmland sought and of farmland for rent/sale along with contact information.
The Beginning Farmer Loan Program was established to help people who want to farm in Minnesota. The program offers affordable financing, a reasonable down payment and built-in safeguards, such as farm management training and financial planning to help minimize the risk all farmers face. This is a partnership approach backed by the State's financial participation. Farmers may finance a purchase or possibly refinance an existing farm debt. Funding an improvement may be possible if done in conjunction with the requested financing package.
The Seller Assisted Farm Ownership Program is a cooperative financing effort involving a buyer, a seller, a local lender, and the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority (RFA).
The Minnesota Aggie Bond Loan Program is a federal bonding program administered by the State through its Rural Finance Authority. The program offers affordable financing for a qualified beginning farmer. This is accomplished by securing for the applicant a reduced interest rate on the loan they are submitting for approval under the program.
Aggie Bonds programs allow states to provide lenders a tax exemption on interest from financed purchases by beginning farmers. Chapter 41C of the Minnesota Statutes, also known as the Minnesota Agricultural Development Act, sets forth the authorization and administration of Aggie Bonds under state law.
The Farm Beginnings program of the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) provides the Seeking Farmers-Seeking Land Clearinghouse. Those seeking farmland or farmers complete an online application. The information is then posted online for 90 days and circulated by LSP through its publications and partner networks.
The Minnesota Agricultural Land Preservation Program statute directs the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to administer the Agricultural Land Preservation and Conservation Awareness and Assistance Programs. The purposes of the Awareness and Assistance Programs are to promote and increase public awareness of the need for agricultural land preservation and to provide financial and technical assistance to local units of government preparing plans and official controls under the program.
In the Midwest, farming and open space are the region's defining characteristics. Yet, wasteful land use patterns threaten the rural character and productivity of our nation's breadbasket. Local farmland protection advocates work to promote conservation practices to preserve agricultural land for the future.
This report analyzes Minnesota’s current laws and practices regarding farmland preservation, suggests steps the state can take to strengthen and streamline existing programs, and recommends new tools the state can adopt to better preserve farmland.
This brief reviews two options that come under the category of direct government involvement. Within this category, the type of involvement can vary from legislation mandating certain performance to prohibitory or restrictive policies. This paper will look at one of each that has recently been used in two cities in an attempt to improve the food insecurity issue in their respective communities. The first section will review the recently enacted Minneapolis ordinance that requires certain grocery stores to carry a minimum selection of perishable food items.
There are no standard definitions of what constitutes "local" food amidst a burgeoning local food promotion and policy-development movement. Nonetheless, government policies are rapidly evolving to promote local food production. For most states, anything produced or processed in-state is considered local. In other instances, a 250 or even a 500 mile perimeter constitutes an acceptable boundary justifying a local food territory for policy making purposes or purchasing preferences.
A model easement used by the Dakota County, Minnesota purchase of agricultural conservation easement program.
Pre-Application form for Dakota County, Minnesota purchase of agricultural conservation easement program.
This is a fact sheet of frequently asked questions for landowners interested in selling their development rights.
Many important agricultural counties in the United States are urbanizing; and the long-term viability of farming there is in doubt despite considerable public policy efforts to retain the financial, employment, consumer, and other benefits of local farming enterprises. Focusing on 15 metro-area counties in 14 states, the study's purpose was to identify conditions under which farming may remain viable as important agricultural counties transition to become mostly urban and suburban in land use.
The purpose of this study is to examine the structure and operation of farmers’ markets in the United States, giving special attention to the legal and regulatory issues that may shape their operation. By looking at the rules and regulations markets use and by considering issues markets experience, it is possible to identify the most important challenges vendors and managers of markets may face. It is also possible to make some common sense suggestions on how markets can best address and resolve issues while maintaining their friendly and relatively informal nature.
An ecolabel is a seal or a logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably-raised foods.
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered in a pilot with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory to conduct consumer and food business market research related to ecolabels.
An ecolabel is a seal or logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one important avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably raised foods.
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory in the second phase of a pilot project to conduct consumer market research on food ecolabels and perceptions of locally grown foods. The specific objectives for Phase II were as follows:
For the past 20 years, we have heard a great deal about Community Supported Agriculture as a novel marketing and community-building concept. The accepted history of Community Supported Agriculture in the United States is that Jan VanderTuin brought the concept from Switzerland in 1984. CSA projects had been sprouting up there and in other parts of Europe since the 1960s. Such enterprises also were found in Japan in the 1960s when women’s neighborhood groups began approaching farmers to develop direct, cooperative relationships between producers and consumers, known as ‘teikei.’
The 8,436 farms in Southeast Minnesota sold $866 million of farm products in 1997. However, the region's farmers spent $947 million raising this food. This is $80 million more than they earned by selling their products! Even more troubling, Southeast Minnesota farm families spend about $400 million per year purchasing inputs and credit from distant suppliers. Very little of this money builds wealth for local families. Meanwhile, the 303,256 residents of Southeast Minnesota spend $506 million buying food, almost all from producers outside the state.
An excerpt from a comprehensive plan adopted by Dakota County, Minnesota.
Farmland in the seven-county metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. has been urbanized at nearly twice the rate of population growth since 1970, resulting in the loss of more than 150,000 acres, or 235 square miles of farm and vacant land. Since 1980, growth has occurred almost exclusively in the second ring of suburbs and, to a lesser extent, on the urban fringe. Slowing the pace of urban sprawl around the Twin Cities has been hindered in part by the property tax-dependent system of local government finance.
Conservation easements are coming under increased scrutiny from Congress and the Internal Revenue Service. Pressure is intensifying on easement holders to guarantee monitoring and enforcement of easements in perpetuity.
Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses brings the business planning process alive to help today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises. Sample worksheets lend a practical perspective and illustrate how real farm families set goals, researched processing alternatives, determined potential markets, and evaluated financing options.
Minnesota's right-to-farm law.