Table of

Return to Main Page

Assessing & Planning

Land Acquisition

Laura and Adam started looking for their own land soon after they established Loon Organics. Their search was to take until 2008, when they found a 40-acre certified organic CSA farm for sale outside of Hutchinson, Minnesota, 70 miles west of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Although they had initially focused on southeastern Minnesota, they found themselves squeezed between development pressure by the Twin Cities to the north and Rochester to the south.

Educator’s Perspective:
Resource Tip

Finding Land

Some organizations have clearinghouses or “matchmaking” programs designed to help aspiring farmers locate suitable land.

MOSES: Land Link-Up

Center for Rural Affairs: Land Link

Land Stewardship Project: Seeking Farmers-Seeking Land Clearinghouse

Iowa State University Extension Beginning Farmer Center: Farm On Program

Programs in other states or regions may be found through the National Farm Transition Network.

Adam and Laura looked at approximately ten farms before finding the one they purchased, and they drove by many more. They found that “drive-bys” were efficient because it was often quickly apparent that the farm layout and the amount of tillable land made a farm not worth pursuing. They used Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings, called local realtors, and made inquiries through organic farmer networks. Although they expected to find a farm through word of mouth, they saw their farm listed on MLS.

Laura and Adam considered anything from 10 to 80 acres. Their preferred size was 40 acres, but they found it a difficult parcel size to find in their price range.

Besides the obvious need to find a farm that fit their budget, they wanted to avoid parcels with dilapidated structures that would divert their cash flow from the farming operation. Laura and Adam sought the advice of veteran organic farmers, who emphasized paying attention to soils, drainage, the degree of protection from neighboring conventional farms, and protection from flooding.

Their top priority was finding good soil for growing vegetables, and they hoped to find land that hadn’t been sprayed. They couldn’t quite believe their luck at finding an existing organic CSA vegetable operation (Figure 5). As discussed further under Finances, a USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan helped to make their dream of owning land a reality.

Back to top of this page

the Hutchinson farmstead

Figure 5: The farmstead on Laura and Adam's farm in Hutchinson, as seen from the fields on the east side of the property.

Back to top of this page

Go on to next page >>