California FarmLink and Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) are pleased to release the study, Land Access & Business Viability for Limited-Resource Farmers: Assessment of Conditions in the Coachella Valley The study developed and demonstrates a much-needed, replicable framework for assessing various agricultural areas in California in terms of the conditions most favorable for limited-resource farmers to develop successful, enduring farming operations. As a pilot for developing the analysis tool, the study initially assesses the feasibility of providing land access and related farm business training and support to limited-resource Latino farmers in the Coachella Valley.
“As a nonprofit specializing in advancing equitable, healthy regional food economies, SAGE hopes that this resource will contribute to understanding and improving the regional scale conditions that help support success for limited-resource farmers,” says Sibella Kraus, SAGE President. “The viability of farms, especially beginning farms, depends on – beyond good soils and water – the people and resources around them including social capital, technical assistance, service and input providers, associations, and many types of infrastructure, as much as on the skills of the farmer.”
This study has five sections: 1) Introduction – an overview of the perspectives and interests of limited-resource farmers, philanthropists or landowners, nonprofits, and local governments; 2) Favorable Conditions for Limited-Resource Farmers at the Agricultural Area Scale – specific conditions that impact the viability and business success for these farmers; 3) Models for Land Access and Farmer Training and Support – four models that can increase opportunities for limited-resource farmer land access and associated training and technical support; 4) Coachella Valley Existing Conditions – the area’s biophysical, socio-economic and ag industry characteristics related to viability and success of limited-resource farmers; 5) Favorable Conditions for Limited Resource Farmers at the Property Scale – property-scale conditions, in general and assessed for the Coachella Valley, that can accommodate the supportive models; and 5) Conclusions and Recommendations – pathways for future phases of work.
“As one next step, we hope to utilize our assessment framework to analyze at least two other agricultural areas in terms of respective conditions favorable for limited-resource farmers. These studies will inform our efforts to develop new land access models,” says Reggie Knox, Executive Director of California FarmLink, a leading nonprofit supporting access to credit and good land tenure for small farmers.