Farmer Match Program Up and Running!
TLC is pleased to announce that the Farmer-Landowner Match Program is up and running on our website. The goal is to link farmers with people who have land to lease, with an emphasis on helping beginning and diversified farmers get access to the land they need.
We now have a diversity of applications from people with land available for lease or sale. The opportunities can be viewed in a searchable database by clicking here. Note, a page will open with a table listing the features of properties. You can scan down the list to find those that are of interest.
We'll be doing more outreach to people with land as well as farmers seeking land in the coming months. Once we have a few more potential farmers identified, we will post a similar table that landowners can search.
Thus far we have received a number of interesting prospects. The acreages available run from 3 acres up to 17 acres. That doesn't sound like much to a conventional grain operation, but to a specialty grower it means a lot. Most are for lease, but some are for sale or lease, and some offer unique opportunities.
One example is a well-established apple orchard on 5 acres. The owners are looking for someone to help with the operation that grows 80 varieties of apples, along with pears and plums. Customers come from all over, including the Chicagoland area, to buy produce at the orchard. The business was established 24 years ago and has clients who are apple connoisseurs. There are people looking for certain heritage varieties that are grown here. "Grandma remembers snow apples so they come here and get snow apples," remarks the owner. This is a small, family-run business that is looking for the right person to manage the orchard, with the possibility of transitioning ownership in the future.
At the other end of the spectrum is a 17-acre field that has been in hay for the past 5 years. Prior to that, the land was in corn and beans. There is a 30'x40' pole barn on the property, but no water or electric. The land is in a rural area near Harvard. The owner is open to either leasing or selling.
A variety of other opportunities have been submitted to the program so far: 3 acres with a hoop house, 5 acres of pasture partially fenced, an 8-acre hayfield, 10 acres tillable and the list goes on.
If you have land to lease to a farmer who is looking for land to rent or buy, please click here for an application you can complete and return to TLC. If you have land that you would like to lease to an "unconventional" farmer, please call Linda Balek at TLC's office, 815/337-9502, and ask for an application.