Access to Land is one of the biggest challenges New Farmers face when they are starting off in Connecticut. The high value of land, competition with investors and developments, and proximity to appropriate markets are just some of the many barriers that Beginning Farmers face when they hope to launch their farm business here. However, there are plenty of organizations and tools to help make the process a little easier and make sure that you are settling in to the right property when you find it. Find information on this page to help you discover the steps involved in a farm search, where to find land, assessment of property and financing.
Starting with the Basics
There are many steps to acquiring farmland and understanding the process that perspective farmers have to go through. Land for Good has put together some excellent resources to help the Beginning Farmer understand the process of accessing Farmland.
Who Can help
Throughout New England and Connecticut there are a couple of organizations and people that can help you through the farmland finding process. Many of the services they provide are free of charge. From helping you understand town policies, to assessing soil compatibility, to helping locate areas that are available. Reach out to these service providers for the needs you have when pursuing your farmland.
Kip Kolesinkas- Land Conservation Specialist
Kip Kolesinkas, serves as the Land Conservation Specialist for the UConn Extension Solid Ground Program, providing assistance to the new and beginning farmer community. Kip is the lead for the Farmland ConneCTions component of the Program which provides land access training, outreach, linking, matchmaking, and site assessment services. Since 2012 Kip Kolesinskas has also provided conservation based consulting services to agencies, non profits, farmers and landowners throughout New England. Much of the focus of this work has been on efforts to improve land access and affordability and to provide technical services to new and beginning farmers. Prior to consulting, Kip worked for USDA NRCS for 34+ years, including as State Soil Scientist for CT and RI where he gained knowledge about federal and state programs available to farmers.
Email Kip or (860) 878-0393
Will O’Meara – Connecticut Field Agent, Land for Good
Will’s farming roots go back to high school on Waldingfield Farm in Washington CT, where he currently serves as assistant manager. He received his bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Food and Farming from UMass Amherst, where he spent his time on the UMass Student Farm crew while also soaking up as much knowledge and experience as he could at the many farms of the Pioneer Valley. Will serves on the Steering Committee of The New CT Farmer Alliance, a chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition that brings Connecticut’s beginning farmers together to identify and advocate around common challenges and opportunities. Will is excited to serve his agricultural community and carry out Land For Good’s mission in Connecticut. Email will.
Connecticut Farmland Trust
Connecticut Farmland Trust
• accepts donations of agricultural conservation easements and farmland,
• purchases agricultural conservation easements and farmland,
• partners with towns and land trusts to identify threatened farms and opportunities for land protection and to help address farmland stewardship and management concerns, and
• partners with communities throughout the state to encourage local farmland preservation efforts through outreach and support to farmers, local land trusts, local officials, town planners, conservation commissions, and community organizations.
From where to find land, to finding access to capital, to understanding leasing. Use these links to help you get on land.
Sample Lease Agreements
Click here to view a short presentation from Kip Kolesinskas on how to utilize the online tool the Web Soil Survey to identify your soils. This video walks you through the whole process from start to finish in identifying soils on your land, or on land that you are considering using as farmland.
Click here to view a presentation that provides a consistent way to go out and evaluate a piece of property for it's potential for agriculture using methods that Kip Kolesinskas has used for over 40 years in his experience as a soil scientist.
Click here to view a presentation on improving access to CT farmland for new and prospective farmers. Presented by the UConn Extension's Scaling Up Program. This webinar is for farmland owners/farm seekers, featuring Kip Kolesinskas, Land Conservation Specialist and Rachel Murray a former Land for Good Connecticut Field Agent.
- "Land trusts are at the forefront of reshaping the agricultural landscape in Connecticut. They can be a leader supporting and promoting new and beginning farmers by providing access to farmland." Read more on Wintonbury Land Trust and Hawk Hill Preserve
- "Connecticut’s conservation community is at the forefront of reshaping the agricultural landscape throughout the region and increasing farmers’ access to prime farmland. Land trusts serve as both leaders and potential game changers in how effectively and successfully farmers will be able to increase food production to meet the ever-growing demand for local food." Read more on The Nature Conservancy and Sunny Valley Preserve