According to the Agrarian Trust (AT), thousands of farmers and ranchers with 400 million acres of land in the United States are starting to retire, yet the next generation of farmers struggle to access land
The growing barriers to land access have spurred the creation of several innovative land transfer models throughout the country. Examples include the AT's Agrarian Commons model, farmer-owned cooperative models, land trust-led buy-protect-sell models, and others.
In 2022, Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) formed a partnership with the La Plata Open Space Conservancy and the Old Fort Farm of Fort Lewis College to research existing land access models and to explore opportunities that may best fit our local area.
To date, this work has involved a community engagement process consisting of listening sessions in both Montezuma and La Plata Counties to discuss barriers and opportunities to land access, and how organizations such as land trusts might be able to support such efforts.
Phase Two of this project will involve collaborative equitable land access pilot projects that meet the needs of our unique community.
Are you a land seeker or landowner? Are you a farmer, rancher, aspiring farmer or rancher, or an advocate for land or food justice? Are you interested in joining others to discuss opportunities to increase equitable land access in Southwest Colorado?