BROOKINGS — According to the USDA 2017 Census of Agriculture, one in four producers is a beginning farmer with 10 or fewer years of experience. New producers often tend to smaller than average farms in both acres and value of production, because their challenge is often finding land in the first place, says Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension livestock business management field specialist.

“Whether renting or purchasing, securing access to farmland continues to be a major barrier for newcomers and is preventing a generation of growers and producers from entering the industry,” Gessner says.

Following a widely-attended fall workshop series on these issues, Gessner is planning a second round in 2021 for individuals with some farming or ranching experience who are actively looking for land. The eight-week Farmland for the Next Generation will kick off Jan. 5 and is supported by a grant from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Topics covered will include an introduction to land tenure, financial readiness, land tenure options, finding land, land assessment, leasing land, purchasing land and succession planning. The workshop series will be held in an interactive webinar format that includes discussions, worksheets and ongoing evaluation of each participant's current situation. Gessner says it is essential participants are committed to following the meeting times and deadlines for each session.

“This program is hands-on so participants will need to go out and apply what they learn during these sessions and then report back throughout the series," Gessner says.

Gessner was one of the 25 experienced agricultural educators and service providers across the country in the inaugural class of Land Access Trainers. Gessner is presenting the series as components of the American Farmland Trust's Farmland for the Next Generation project.

The webinars will be held from 7-9 p.m. CST on Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26; and Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23.

A registration fee covers for two individuals. Deadline to register is Jan. 1. To register, visit the SDSU Extension Events page (

For more information, contact Gessner at or 605-782-3290.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.