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K-State Today

November 1, 2021

K-State agricultural economics department awarded grant from NIFA to develop farm and ranch transition center

Submitted by Mary Bowen

The agricultural economics department at Kansas State University was awarded a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to establish the Office for Farm and Ranch Transition. The office will provide critical services for beginning farmers/ranchers in Kansas.

"As the average age of farm operators in Kansas continues to increase, we know many farm families will be looking to transition their operations in the near future, either to the next generation or to unrelated younger producers," said Robin Reid, K-State extension farm economist. "We are extremely excited for our department to provide education and services specifically for transitioning farms and ranches and to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in being successful operators." 

The project will have three main objectives:

  1. Development of a land-link program to introduce exiting landowners with beginning farmers/ranchers through an application and curated matching process.
  2. Provide one-on-one technical services to facilitate transition of an existing farm/ranch operation.
  3. Develop an extensive training program for beginning farmers/ranchers to master critical financial and business skills.

"The overall goal of this project is to equip beginning farmers/ranchers to be successful farm managers and provide resources and technical services that will enable opportunities for land access," said Allen Featherstone, agricultural economics department head. "The land-link program will bring farm families together through the matching process, they will receive one-on-one technical assistance in developing their transition plans, and general education conferences on farm transition will increase farm financial knowledge and business skills."

Partnering agencies for the office include Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Bankers Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Service Agency, Kansas Natural Resource Conservation Service and Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition.

As part of the more than $745,000 three-year grant project, the department is hiring a director for the center. The position is secured for three years with another three-year commitment by K-State Research and Extension to help support this program. Long-term plans are to make this a self-sustaining program. Applications are currently being accepted online.

"We are looking for the right individual to spearhead this effort who has a deep passion for assisting farm families and the financial and technical knowledge to be able to do so," Reid said.

Questions can be directed to her at robinreid@k-state.edu

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