Beginning farmers have a powerful new tool in their digital toolbox. The Finding Farmland Calculator, developed by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) and Fathom Information Design, brings together innovative design and practical resources to help farmers overcome two top obstacles to starting a farm—access to land and capital.
“Buying land is one of the most consequential decisions that a farmer can make,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of NYFC. “We built the Finding Farmland Calculator to help farmers make that choice with more confidence. The tool helps users understand their financing options, the full cost of buying land, and strategies to make a farm more affordable.”
“Purchasing farmland can be remarkably complex,” said Ben Fry, principal of Fathom. “So we worked with NYFC to provide perspective on affordability in a way that's simple and clear. This updated tool captures all the details of the process and helps current and aspiring farmers identify their best possible scenarios.”
A decision-making tool designed specifically for farmers seeking land, the Finding Farmland Calculator makes it easy for farmers to understand and compare farm financing options, determine what they can afford, and prepare to work with a loan officer. The calculator was created in consultation with young farmers and farm service providers, such as Farm Credit, to fill a specific need: giving farmers free and easy access to information that will help them find affordable farm financing and successfully pay it back.
With nearly 100 million acres of the nation’s farmland expected to change hands in the next five years, and young farmers citing land access as their top challenge, NYFC is focused on making secure, affordable access to land possible for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. NYFC’s Finding Farmland Calculator is part of a larger land access campaign strategy, which includes farm bill and state policy advocacy, land access workshops for farmers, a land access webinar series, and a series of trainings for land conservation professionals around the country.
This project was made possible by a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which supports projects that develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) is an advocacy network of farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. Visit NYFC on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Fathom Information Design partners with clients to understand, express, and navigate complex data through visualizations, interactive tools, and software. Ben Fry founded Fathom in 2010 and in 2011 he won the National Design Award for Interaction Design. Fathom’s recent projects include No Ceilings with the Clinton Foundation, Connected China with Reuters, and What the World Eats with National Geographic.