The New York State Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) is pleased to announce a grant award for a Lease Mediation Project from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is a program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture.
This pilot project will study the benefits, value and obstacles in pairing landlords and farmers with a mediator to strengthen their partnership. Often, whether a lease works out for the landowner and farmer hinges on their ability to communicate clearly and resolve differences.
When farmers have relationship breakdowns with landowners (on their primary farms) and are either forced to relocate or choose to, they confront major financial setbacks. A failed lease situation hampers a farmer’s ability to establish and grow a stable business and to build equity. While data on the cost of failed lease situations is lacking, given the prevalence of leasing in the farm economy – and the importance of leased land to beginning and established farmers – the costs are likely to be high.
This Lease Mediation project applies mediation as a preventative intervention. Mediators will work with landowner and farmer over the course of a year, to define issues, keep conversations focused, uncover common goals and facilitate the development of options.
Joining NYSAMP will be Land For Good, a national innovator and strong advocate for farmers in the areas of farmland access, tenure and transfer. Other advisors include Tim Biello, Hudson Valley Farmlink and Steve Hadcock, Beginning Farmer and Market Development, Cornell Cooperative Extension.
NYSAMP is currently seeking a few New York farmers in lease situations who would like to participate in the Lease Mediation Pilot Project. Farmers accepted in the study will have an established farm entity and will be leasing their primary farmland. Farmers may be in different phases of the lease (from 1-6 years) and will have verbal or written agreements or a lease currently in place. Interested farmers may contact Claudia Kenny, NYSAMP Statewide Director for more information. Ph: 866-669-7267 or firstname.lastname@example.org