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i_yfarmers_2017a_2017-08-10t09:01:25z4 Hearing Summary

Date: 08/10/2017

Location: SCR 357

Final

Overview of Land Link Program



YOUNG AND BEGINNING FARMERS


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
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10:43 AM -- Overview of Land Link Program



Jennifer Visitacion, Executive Director, Guidestone Colorado, distributed a copy of her presentation (Attachment E). She provided background information about Guidestone Colorado, which seeks to grow the agricultural community through education, community development, and building partnerships. She said that Guidestone Colorado is based out of the Hutchinson Homestead and Learning Center, which focuses on agricultural and youth education. Ms. Visitacion explained the Land Link Program within Guidestone Colorado, which was established to support land access and farm succession and was developed out of a need in Chaffee County for land access for young and beginning farmers. She discussed the partnerships between the Land Link Program, the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension Division, and other organizations.



170810 AttachE.pdf170810 AttachE.pdf



Ms. Visitacion discussed the challenges within the agriculture industry, including population growth, an aging farmer population, and a lack of next generation farmers. Ms. Visitacion discussed how the Land Link Program seeks to alleviate these problems in the industry. She explained that the Land Link Program helps retiring farmers and ranchers find strategies for succession plans; supports next generation farmers in developing resources and skills for farming; and matches landowners with young and beginning farmers seeking land. Ms. Visitacion discussed how the Land Link Program helps determine the readiness of new farmers and landowners to participate in a land transfer. She discussed some early successes of the Land Link Program, as well as land seeker and landowner matches that have failed. She discussed the services that the Land Link Program currently offers, including the land seeker and landowner matching service; vision courses and coaching for aspiring farmers, ranchers, and landowners; regional advisory and support teams; and an annual Land Link forum.



10:58 AM



Dan Waldvogle, representing himself as a beginning farmer, discussed his entrance into the agriculture industry. Mr. Waldvogle stated that he currently manages a cattle ranch in Salida. He told the committee how he became involved in Guidestone Colorado, and specifically the Land Link Program. He discussed how Guidestone Colorado has benefitted him and helped him enter the industry. He also discussed the needs of young and beginning farmers, including reaching out to rural farmers and ranchers.



11:05 AM



Ms. Visitacion explained how the Land Link Program matches landowners with aspiring farmers and ranchers. She discussed the Guidestone Colorado vision course, which is directed at aspiring farmers who want to start urban farms. She also discussed farmer readiness and how landowners and aspiring farmers interpret readiness. Ms. Visitacion discussed the components of a successful Land Link relationship, including a viable business model, open communication, equitable lease arrangements, and clear boundaries. She discussed the successes and challenges of the Land Link Program. Ms. Visitacion emphasized the importance of landowner and farmer succession planning tools to the industry.



11:13 AM



Ms. Visitacion responded to questions from the committee regarding farmer readiness, both from the perspective of landowner and aspiring farmer. She also responded to questions regarding the success rate of the Land Link program. Mr. Waldvogle responded to questions from the committee regarding his experience with the Land Link Program and where he sees himself in the next ten years. Ms. Visitacion responded to questions regarding long-term leases of agricultural lands. The committee discussed the ability of farmers to sell produce directly to schools with Ms. Visitacion and Mr. Waldvogle.