New Farmer to Farmer Website Helps Preserve Farmland

“There’s nothing better than planting the stuff there and seeing it grow and say ‘well I did it.’”

Leo Ocanas has spent decades working on this property.

“Since 1982,” he said.

From sun up to sun down – he’s made it blossom into the fruitful 68 acres it is today.

“I planted all this from one end of the other when I bought it, it was just all trees,” Leo said.

But now he’s 72 years old. Ready to retire and ready to sell his property to another local farmer.

There’s a new website to streamline that process.

It’s called Farmer to Farmer.

Farm land is listed for sale or for lease. Then, buyers and sellers can easily find or post property.

This started because of a major generational shift in farming.

“Just in the Grand Traverse region it’s expected that 83,000 acres of farmland is expected to change hands,” said Laura Rigan, Farmland Protection Specialist for Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. “A lot of that farmland is without a farm succession plan or an estate plan and that land is more susceptible to conversion to non-ag use.”

Which farmers like Leo say is bad news.

“People start moving in…they don’t want you to make too much noise that’s why it should be just agriculture or most of it or we’ll have problems,” he said.

“I think there’s a need,” said Laura. “As a conservancy we get calls on a weekly basis from people looking to buy farmland and farmers looking to sell so I think this is just a way to formalize it.”

Farmer to Farmer has only been running for a few weeks now and a handful of properties are already listed.

Later, they’ll provide references for financial planning, estate planning, and succession planning. The Farmer to Farmer website can be found here.

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