VDACS News Releases
December 17, 2021
Farm Link Website Undergoes Redesign to Better Connect Farm Seekers with Available Land and Farming Opportunities
Contact: Michael Wallace
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), in partnership with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, has launched a redesigned Virginia Farm Link website. The Virginia Farm Link website is an online database designed to link farm owners interested in exiting agriculture with those seeking farms and farm businesses. The redesigned website, now available at https://virginiafarmlink.org, features enhanced usability and a more efficient experience for users. The VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation administers the Virginia Farm Link program, which connects farm owners and people who have land available for sale or lease to established or new farmers, who are looking to expand or start their operation.
“The Virginia Farm Link program is a great tool for farmers and landowners who are seeking retirement and would like to see their businesses continue and their land remain in production. Beginning and expanding farmers benefit from being able to search for business arrangements where they can acquire land, equipment, and access to the knowledge and experience of seasoned producers. In addition, the program provides farmers with farm transition and succession planning resources,” said Brad Copenhaver, Commissioner of VDACS.
With a complete overhaul of both the site design and the mechanics of the database, the redesigned website marks the next phase of the Farm Link program. In an effort to fully reflect the interests and needs of each party, the new website includes filters to narrow farm seekers and owners’ searches, an organized transition resources page, and an updated interactive map. Access to the Farm Link website and online database is free to all users. In addition, Facebook and Instagram accounts were created to support and enhance the program.
“Whether a farm seeker is searching for farming opportunities or a farm family is transitioning their business across generations, the Virginia Farm Link program’s new focus on ‘connecting Virginia agriculture’ will help ensure farmland stays in working agriculture use and is there for the next generation of farmers,” said Stefanie Taillon, senior assistant director for Virginia Farm Bureau governmental relations. “When it comes to succession planning, farmers often simply do not know where to start, and Farm Link can provide much-needed guidance on navigating related resources and options for producers of all ages and experience levels.”
The average principal farm operator in Virginia is 58.5 years of age, and 37 percent of principal farm operators are aged 65 or older. There are also five times as many producers over the age of 65 as there are under the age of 35. In addition, young prospective farmers who trying to enter the profession are often challenged with the economics of acquiring land and equipment or the need to gain on-the-ground skills and knowledge. Established by the Code of Virginia, the Virginia Farm Link program and the newly-redesigned website provide assistance to meet these challenges.
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