With the average age of an American farmer being 57, much of the nation’s farmland will change hands in the next two decades. To help address this issue, many states and regions are creating land links: programs that help connect farmers, especially beginning farmers, to farmland for rent or sale. Land links are usually online databases that display listings from landholders and landseekers describing what the participant is looking for in a match and what they can offer. The land link program puts this posting online (minus any personal or contact information) and facilitates communication between participants.
The next day I had to go back to the area to return something to a Fleet Farm store just south of the farm area. I did my business there and headed north just a few exits to Exit 57 Holy Hill Rd – Hwy 167 West, the farm exit. Upon approaching the exit, catching glimpses across the road and to my right a quarter mile down the road, I was shocked to not see one single familiar thing. It was gone… totally GONE, ALL of it. The massive old large family farm home from the 1800s, the newer ranch from mid century 1900s. The road was tore up for construction, the road was one lane in some areas, there were large many acre parcels of newly cleared land. Land not to be toiled upon to raise crops, but land stripped of it’s top soil and in some stage of preparation to be parking areas or mega building sites. Upon where I surmised as best I could, upon the space where the farm actually stood, was a massive new building, a distribution center for Briggs and Stratton. Briggs has a treasured history all its own, but I was not at all receptive to it stealing our family history.
We came first without inherited money or assets. We came with experience, tools and a small earned nest egg, plus something more. We believed, and still do, that we inherited from our grandparents and parents certain values and outlooks, certain expectations and cautions. These have most always informed our choices. And knowing which way to turn and what to work on, those are the secrets to success. Knowing what to choose. We brought this knowledge with us.
When we finally accepted the fact that we would have to leave our home, we half-heartedly began our search for a new one by reading the want ads for rental possibilities. We had decided that we needed to be within 20 miles of the small city near which we lived or our marketing would be severely impeded. We didn’t find a single farm to rent and even the so-called “country” places had modern houses and very little land to go with them. We realized our only option was to buy a place although we didn’t know where we would get the money.