Of all the barriers beginning farmers face in building successful agricultural enterprises, securing access to farmland is consistently rated as the number one challenge.
This is compounded for young entrepreneurial farmers innovating with regenerative farming and new niche business models that require investments in soil health, infrastructure, and labor. Land access is particularly fraught for Black farmers and other people of color who have faced and continue to face historical and systemic discrimination.
Currently, there is no single place for farmers or farmland owners in Illinois to turn to for advice, resources, and assistance with land access. To address this need, The Land Connection, in collaboration with The Conservation Fund and Liberty Prairie Foundation, is establishing the framework for a full-service farmland access strategy for Illinois. The Illinois Farmland Access Initiative consists of five interlocking and mutually-reinforcing core elements as a comprehensive solution, all guided by the values of justice, diversity, equity, and belonging.
Core Initiative Elements
- An inclusive and coordinated network of technical resources and service providers, the Farmland Access Hub, that fully represents the diversity of Illinois’ food and farming system
- Farmland Access Navigators embedded across the state to provide one-on-one direct service to farmers and farmland owners
- A moderated statewide Illinois FarmLink Website to connect farmland owners and farmers with land, resources, and each other
- Farmland Access Trainings specifically tailored for Illinois farmers and landowners
- Farmland Succession and Transition Support, designed for Illinois non-operating landowners and retiring farmers
Core Project Team
Looking for services now?
Farmers and Landowners in Northeastern Illinois can use the Northeast Illinois FarmLink website to create profiles, view listings, access resources, and more. The program, developed and managed by Liberty Prairie Foundation, also offers a very useful monthly e-newsletter with profiles, tips, and news all about farmland access. Northeast Illinois FarmLink is the foundational website that will become Illinois FarmLink serving the entire state of Illinois.
If you’re a service provider interested in joining the Farmland Access Hub or wanting to stay in the loop, please complete this interest form.
If you have any questions or would like more information about the Illinois Farmland Access Initiative, please contact Cassidy Dellorto-Blackwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-840-2128 ext 5. Or you can submit a question here.