Building a Bridge Between Plaintiffs of Ohio Farmland Owners / Public News Service
An ongoing program is expected to help secure the livelihoods of Ohio farmers and build resilience in the food system.
The Family Farm ReGeneration Act is a new law designed to incentivize established farmers and growers to sell land, livestock, buildings and equipment to those just starting out.
Amalie Lipstreu, policy director at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, said access to land is the biggest challenge for beginning farmers. With the average age of Ohio farmers being about 55, she said the next generation needs to be well equipped to grow food.
“It is in all of our interests to ensure that beginning farmers can access land,” she said, “and also have the credit, business planning assistance and resources they need. need not just to get started, but to be successful in the long run.”
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is developing the program, to provide income tax credits to established farmers who sell farm assets to beginning farmers. Beginning farmers must complete a qualified financial management program, much like OEFFA’s Heartland Farm Beginnings business course.
Ohio has the fifth-highest number of beginning farmers among the states — about 33,000. Lipstreu said the Family Farm ReGeneration Act is a way to invest in them, which will help strengthen local food systems during the difficult times.
“The COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the rising cost of fertilizers really drive home the vulnerability of our food system,” she said.
Lipstreu added that millions of acres of farmland will likely change hands as older farmers and ranchers retire, and these types of investments will help ensure those acres stay in production.
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