Beginning Farmer Resources
Part of our mission at the conservation district is to support and preserve working farmland on our island. The average age of farmers in the Pacific Northwest is 58 years old, and Whidbey Island is no exception. Now, more than ever before, we need to help the next generation of farmers access affordable and fertile farmland in order to keep our farmland in production and our food local.
Beginning farmers are farmers with ten years or less of experience as the principle decision makers on their farm. If you are a beginning farmer, or a new farmer looking for resources and land, or an island farmer ready to begin succession planning, WICD is here to help!
We have resources on accessing farmland, planning your farm's succession, funding your farm, and connecting with other organizations that assist farmers.
Visit our Farm & Ag page for technical resources as well as information about farm plans and financial assistance through the conservation district.
Check out our Ag Community page for marketing and networking resources.
Technical Assistance & Farm Plans
If you'd like to find farmland to farm on Whidbey Island, create a farm plan for your property, begin the farmland succession process, or address a resource concern on your land, please contact our office at (888) 678-4922 or fill out the form below to get started.
Training Programs for New Farmers
Although this list is not exhaustive, several in-person and online training schools for beginning farmers are offered both locally, regionally, and nationally. Consider checking out the following, and searching online for the resources that fit your needs best.
Beginning Farmer Resources
Click a Tab Below for More Resources:
Farmland access resources
Starting a Farm
Acquiring Land to Farm
Leasing Land to Farm
Farmland succession & transfer resources
Farm Succession & Transfer
Working with Land Trusts
Many land trusts throughout the country have protected farmland through 1) direct acquisition for future lease to a farmer; 2) purchase then protection through a conservation easement, then resale; and 3) simultaneous purchase together with a farmer, including protection through a conservation easement. Conservation easements may specifically address future farming, or be more general. However, recent studies have shown that agricultural conservation easements do not necessarily ensure that the land is available for future farming.
Center for Rural Affairs
National Sustainable Agriculture Association
National Young Farmers Coalition
USDA Farm Service Agency
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
top resource organizations
Top Resource Organizations
The following is a list of organizations that offer workshops, resources, and other support for new farmers and farmland owners seeking to transfer their farms. This is not a comprehensive list, as there are many other organizations dedicated tot he goal of sustainable farming, including connecting new farmers to farmland.