Vermont will have a substantial transfer of agricultural land over the next decade. Prioritizing creative approaches to farmland ownership and access will create farming opportunities for more people, including historically marginalized communities within and outside Vermont, who are disproportionately underrepresented in farmland ownership. The model of fee simple farmland ownership by a single family is not possible for many farmers, and not desirable for some others. It is unlikely to sufficiently address the shift underway in farmland ownership, as the price of land continues to rise and the costs of production and land are well above the return obtained from many farm businesses. If we do not explore and implement a range of approaches that provide alternative methods of land ownership and access, we risk losing farming opportunities for new entrepreneurs and existing farmers, agricultural land, and the opportunity to redress historical racial injustices related to land.
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