Toolbox for Farmland Seekers

How to Acquire Land:

“Where do I start? Acquiring Land to Farm” *This printable worksheet will walk you through a personal assessment to determine where you are at with your farming operation to help you determine what land you will need. We recommend everyone one to do this worksheet before even starting to look for land. “Steps to Acquiring a Farm or Farmland”* This straightforward diagram lays out the step by step process to use when acquiring new land for your farm business. “Acquiring Your Farm: An Online Course for Farm Seekers“* This online course is a complete guide for you to work through to get your ducks in a row before acquiring or leasing new land. We recommend everyone go through this course before approaching a landowner about their property.

How to Develop a Farm Business Plan:

Cornell University’s Small Farm Program has put together an amazing array of resources to develop a farm business plan. Through the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project you can choose from a variety of different business planning programs.

Understanding the Land and Assessing Farm Infrastructure:

PennState Extension provides and excellent checklist for assessing good agricultural land. Please note, however, there are no Class 1 soils in Alaska due to our soil temperature.  If you need information about locations of good soil in the state contact the Alaska Division of Agriculture’s Land Department.  Find more information about places that are selling agricultural lands in Alaska.

What You Need to Know About Lease Agreements:

Everything you need to know about Establishing a Lease Agreement is a slideshow that provides an overview of the types of leases available and goes into detail about what a cash lease agreement should include.

Where to Acquire Financial Assistance:

In Alaska there are three main entities that help farmers finance their business:

ARRC: Operating in Alaska since 1935, the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation is a private non-profit that offers agricultural loans to farmers and ranchers across Alaska.

Alaska-FSA: The Alaska State Farm Service Agency is a federal program that provides farm loans for farmers and ranchers. They have a variety of loan programs available.

Alaska Division of Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund: The ARLF provides a variety of loan options including:

  • SHORT TERM – loans to finance annual operating expenses such as seed, feed, fertlizer, harvesting or planting activities.
  • CHATTEL – loans to purchase equipment or livestock.
  • FARM DEVELOPMENT – loans to purchase real property and construct non-residential improvements for agricultural purposes.
  • IRRIGATION – loans to purchase and install irrigation systems.
  • PRODUCT PROCESSING – loans to build and equip facilities to process Alaska agricultural products.
  • CLEARING – loans to provide for land clearing.

Labor Resources For You to Know About:

State of Alaska Employment Standards provides the complete interpretation of Alaska employment laws including wages and working conditions.

Benefits and Tax breaks for hiring Veterans is a great resource to understanding getting the maximum benefits from hiring Veterans.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for Alaska is a complete list of tax credits your can receive for hiring folks in specific targeted groups (include Veterans, Felons, and at-risk communities).

Workers’ Compensation Requirements for Employers  is a complete list of information about the Alaska state workers compensation requirements.

Special Grants and Funding Resources For You To Consider

Alaska USDA Rural Development has a variety of loans and grant programs  available for rural Alaskans.

Alaska Division of Agriculture provides a Specialty Crop Grant that can be used to promote a specialty crop in Alaska. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture and turf production). The USDA maintains a list of eligible specialty crops on its website: www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp. AMS encourages projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, sustain the livelihoods of American farmers, and strengthen local economies.

 

*A special thanks to New England’s Land For Good that allowed us to use much of this information from their program. If you found their information helpful, donate to Land for Good to assist them in helping farmers like you across the nation.