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Finding Land: The Ryders

Nathan and Talina Ryder start their farm business at Grover and Shirley Webb’s Tanglefoot Ranch

We are farmbound, finally!

This was the ecstatic boldfaced sentence in the middle of Talina Norris-Ryder's Harvest of Daily Life blogpost.

"To make a long story short," Nathan Ryder wrote, "my wife Talina and I had a conversation back in December where we decided we either needed to pursue our dream a different way or put it by the wayside. It's just next to impossible for someone who doesn't already own a plot of land or have a large pile of money to start a small farm operation."  

After an entire year of searching for land and a livable house for their growing family they had struck out, and so, as Talina wrote:    

"At the beginning of 2014 we resolved to put our feelers out for unconventional farm acquisition options, anywhere that they may be. . . . Amazingly, about a month after setting our resolution/goal, we found a unique little opportunity that we feel is right up our alley, one that gets us a livable, rent free house, lets us acquire land for our own farming dreams, allows us to learn key farming knowledge, has access to all the equipment we might need, and offers us the chance to pursue our own farming projects at the same time. It was all thanks to an Illinois based organization called The Land Connection and their Farmland Classifieds."

By May, the Ryders were heading west to the thousand-acre Tanglefoot Ranch in southern Illinois run by Grover and Shirley Webb.  After a month at his new job, Nathan wrote:  

"It used to be I didn't see my family for 12 hours at a time working for corporations and having an hour-long commute each way. Now I get to see my wife and kids all throughout the day, experiencing more of life's precious moments with the people who matter most.

Oh yeah, and we've followed a dream. I'm afraid it's something most people don't do with their lives. We've taken a huge risk leaving our comfy paycheck and corporate benefits behind but we're now working for ourselves and the six other people who rely on the success of this farm. We're now providing high quality food and nourishment to the countless number of folks who believe in us and buy our products for their dinner tables. I'm proud to say I'm now a farmer."

And we at The Land Connection are proud to say we played a role!  If you've made a successful match through our online classifieds, please let us know!

We are also happy to talk with you about options for farmland preservation -- whether that's placing an easement on the land to protect it in perpetuity, or whether you'd like to provide a new farmer with the opportunity to begin farming by lease some of your land.