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SDSU Extension to Hold Workshops for Beginning Farmers/Ranchers Looking for Land

BROOKINGS, S.D. - SDSU Extension will host Farmland for the Next Generation, an eight-week virtual workshop series, beginning August 31.

Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the workshops are for individuals with some farming or ranching experience who are actively looking for land. The series will focus on building skills and utilizing practical resources. 

"Access to suitable land remains a chief obstacle for beginning farmers and ranchers," said Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist. “Addressing barriers that keep new farmers from entering agriculture is also critical.”

Gessner was one of 25 experienced agricultural educators and service providers from across the country certified in the inaugural class of Land Access Trainers (LATs). As an LAT, Gessner plans to present the workshop series as components of the American Farmland Trust's Farms for the Next Generation initiative, which is a nationwide project to address the issue of success for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. 

"According to the 2012 and 2017 Census of Agriculture data, nationally, and in South Dakota, the number of beginning farmers and ranchers dropped 9% from 2007 to 2017,” Gessner said. “Roughly a quarter of all producers have been farming 10 years or less. Overall, there are fewer new beginners nationwide. Even though this number has come up since 2012, the total number of producers who have been producing 10 years or less has come down since 2007."

Registration Details

The workshop series will be held in an interactive webinar format that includes discussions, worksheets and ongoing evaluation of each participant’s current situation. Participants should be committed to following the meeting times and deadlines for each session.

"This is an exciting program," Gessner said. "Many programs are created to educate about what you should know. This program is hands-on and provides and requires the participants to get out and do what they learn during the sessions." 

Topics will address an introduction to land tenure, financial readiness, land tenure options, finding land, land assessment, leasing land, purchasing land and succession planning.   


The webinars are scheduled for 7-9 p.m. CDT for the following dates: 

  • August 31
  • September 9
  • September 17
  • September 24
  • October 1
  • October 15
  • October 22
  • October 29

Registration is $50 for two individuals. Deadline to register is August 21. To register, go to the Events page.

For more information, please contact Gessner.

About American Farmland Trust

American Farmland Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Learn more at the American Farmland Trust website.

About SDSU Extension

SDSU Extension is the outreach arm of South Dakota State University, the state’s Land Grant university. Since 1881, SDSU Extension has provided research-based information and educational programming to improve the lives and livelihoods of South Dakotans.