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Nebraska Extension land link program connects land seekers with retiring landowners

Nebraska City News-Press

A new Nebraska Extension program will work to connect new and beginning farmers and ranchers with retiring landowners who are interested in transitioning their land to a new owner.  

Nebraska Land Link is now accepting applications from interested land seekers and landowners, with the goal of providing land access using lease agreements, lease-to-own arrangements, buy-sell arrangements or other creative methods that are mutually beneficial for both parties.  

Access to land continues to be one of the most difficult challenges facing new farmers, according to Allan Vyhnalek, an extension educator for farm and ranch succession who will manage the Nebraska Land Link program. 

“The high cost of land, livestock and equipment makes it difficult for beginning farmers to purchase these capital assets,” Vyhnalek said. “And many landowners who are asset-rich and cash-poor need to earn income for retirement from their land, equipment and livestock, while transitioning away from the labor and management of their operation.”  

Vyhnalek also pointed out that, when a traditional multi-generational farm or ranch exists, it can be easier to develop a plan that transitions the assets and management of the operation from one generation to the next. However, when a farmer or rancher does not have a child who wishes to actively take over the operation, the path to retirement is less clear.  

After an interested land seeker or landowner applies to Nebraska Land Link, the application will be vetted by extension personnel, who will guide participants through the process of finding a match and provide educational support along the way. Landowners will have opportunities to interview and review applications submitted by land seekers, to screen for shared values, skills and interests.  

The program is administered by the extension Farm and Ranch Management team in the university’s Department of Agricultural Economics. Enrollment applications and information about the program can be found at farm.unl.edu/landlink. It is open to operations of any size and is free for Nebraskans. For people located outside of the state, a fee of $30 for land seekers and $50 for landowners will be applied.   

This material is based upon work supported by USDA-NIFA under Award Number 2020-70017-32735.