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Farm Lease Connection: A New Kind of Online Relationship

PASA’s Land Leasing Program Debuts its New Website

EXTON, PA - Beginning farmers often have the same two frustrations: limited access to land and money. Leasing land can help overcome those obstacles by allowing farmers to build equity without the burden of initial purchasing costs. PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) recently launched its new land leasing program, Farm Lease Connection (FLC), to address these concerns and bring farmers and landowners together in the creation of successful farm enterprises.

FLC is  best described as a blend of eBay and eHarmony that introduces new or expanding farmers to landowners of all kinds, from private homeowners to municipalities and land trusts. The program uses web technology and personal communication to bring both parties together.  Parcels of land as small as a ¼ acre up to hundreds of acres are all potentially eligible for inclusion. At this time, there is no cost to farmers or landowners to enroll in FLC.

“Over the past several years, market demand for locally grown food has grown exponentially,” said Marilyn Anthony, PASA’s Eastern Regional Director. “There’s never been a better time to be a farmer. PASA created Farm Lease Connection to enable the next generation of farmers to get a solid start in agriculture, by linking them with that most precious resource, underused and affordable land.”

To see where the matches get started, visit www.farmleaseconnection.org. The site allows farmers and landowners to set up anonymous profiles to protect confidentiality while advertising their farming experience and goals. The site also offers a list of helpful resources and classes, an event calendar and recommended experts to help in the leasing process.

Since it takes time to find the right combination of people and land, FLC encourages participants to apply at least two years before they are ready to break ground on a new farm business. In the meantime, farmers are asked to create strong business plans and landowners are encouraged to visit area farms to get a real sense of what a farming enterprise would look like on their land.

Initially focused in the Eastern Pennsylvania, FLC will be rolled out across the state in the next year with the goal of eventually including participants from around the Mid-Atlantic.

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