Monday, February 23, 2009

Montana program helps farmers find land to buy

A new program in Montana is hoping to connect new and expanding farmers with farmland that might be for sale. Land Link Montana, part of Missoula's Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, hopes to counteract a growing loss of arable land by making it easier for farmers to find those who want to sell their farmland.

Paul Hubbard, director of the program, says that western Montana has less fertile land, making it harder to find available and appropriate property. But, he says, "keeping farmland in agriculture is vital to Montana's economy and legacy."

"The majority of agricultural land in the U.S. is farmed by someone other than the owner," said Dan Huls, a fourth-generation dairy farmer. "A clearinghouse for people to connect is critical - current farmers, wannabe farmers, and landowners." The Prairie Star, a Montana agriculture newspaper, notes that the program will also connect people to "resources that can assist with financing, business planning, land transfer arrangements, local marketing, and legal issues." (Read more)

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