New Models for Farm Succession

"Land is at the heart of the crises we face... but if we can collectively reimagine our relationship with it, land can also be the solution."

Olivia Oldham, Farming for the Future

I am a farmer and want to explore selling my land to a community buyerI am a community group looking to buy land to produce food

120,000 family-owned businesses are retiring or transferring ownership over the next few years (ONS)

Two-thirds of these owners still do not have a succession plan

There is a significant threat to current land use, already undermining local and national food resilience through pushing our economy towards higher imports and lower employment.

New Models for Farm Succession is new project from a consortium led by Stir to Action and Shared Assets working with family farm owners and community food initiatives to explore how family farmland can be part of long-term efforts to create more food security in the UK, through selling or transferring to local co-operatives. This new approach to succession planning focusses on the social, cultural, and financial considerations for both family farmers and community food initiatives through a series of workshops, options reports, and new financial models for land transfer. The project will:

Transform the current financial marketplace

Build more cultural awareness within the family farm market

Follow pioneers such as Fordhall and Stockwood

The value of family farms is clear within our national economy and food supply, and this project will focus on ensuring financial security for retiring farmers and long-term access to farm land for community food initiatives. With a new rush to acquire land for non-farming initiatives – such as carbon offsetting and private rewilding – this pilot will support the farming community to secure a future for food production in the UK.

I am a farmer and want to explore selling my land to a community buyerI am a community group looking to buy land to produce food

Is your farm interested in a sustainable future?

New Models for Farm Succession is a pilot programme to support family farm owners who are interested in retaining farmland in food production, open to a patient process of selling to a community buyer, and are ready to start succession planning over the next year*.If you’re a family farmer and interested in finding out more about our support offer, take a look at the information below and fill out our Expression of Interest form.

Are you ready for this programme?

Are you prepared to sell farm land at a market value that allows it to remain in food production?

Are you open to a patient process that could involve a community buyer?

Are you looking to sell your farm in the next 2-7 years?

Are you ready to receive support on succession and commit further time to the planning process?

Can you be available for a series of short interviews, diagnostic sessions, and work with our team on an options report, which will outline your potential sale scenarios?

Do you have support and or interest from family and farm business members to engage in this work, and are you prepared to involve them in decisions and discussions about the sale or transfer of farm land?

What do you get from us?

A bespoke 'options' reports for family farms
We will work with you to create an options report for your future farm sale.

A participation budget
We can offer up to £500 stipend for participation in our sessions.

A diagnostic workshop
We will use a diagnostic session to focus on the particular financial and legal needs of your potential farm sale.

Residential workshop
We will host a residential session for five family farm owners to further work on your succession planning and to share experiences.

Joint workshop
We will host a residential workshop where you can engage potential community buyers and explore how to make the process work for both parties.

Financial Modelling
We’ll work with financial specialists to create a bespoke financial model for your farm.  You’ll also receive training on how to use the model from our finance partner.

What is the commitment?

Roughly 12 days of time over 12 months/ or from May to October 2022

1 day a month on average

Some activities will require consecutive days of time (eg events)

This is a two-stage application process, starting with a simple Expression of Interest to register with our team. Fill out the form below , then we follow up with more information about the second stage.

Express Interest

Does your community want to produce its own food? Are you struggling to find land to do so?

New Models for Farm Succession is a pilot programme to support linkages between family farm owners who are interested in retaining farmland in food production and community groups who are looking to buy land to produce food*.

If you’re a community group and interested in finding out more about our support offer, take a look at the information below and fill out our Expression of Interest form.

*There is no obligation to buy land as part of this process.

Please note, this is an exploratory process and it is highly unlikely that it will end up with you actually purchasing land as we are unlikely to match potential buyers and sellers geographically. However,  it will give you a viable model which you can share with local farmers who may be looking at their own succession plans.

Are you ready for this programme?

Are you prepared to create or improve a business plan that includes or could include bringing land into community ownership to produce food for the community?

Are you incorporated as a community business, or will you be by September 2022?

Are you prepared to raise finance to buy farm land?

Are you looking to buy land in the next 2-7 years?

Will you be ready to receive support on community purchase and commit further time to the planning process from September 2022?

Do you have support and or interest from the rest of the group/community/cooperative to engage in this work, and are you prepared to involve them in decisions and discussions about the purchase and management of farm land?

What do you get from us?

We're still in the process of designing the programming for community food initiatives. Registration for the programme will be open from around mid June.

We will pay you a stipend to cover your time to join roundtable discussions, workshops and other research.

What do we mean by community?

This is a loose term designed to capture several different perspectives. We’re keen to work with you if you are part of a group or organistion that includes (but not limited to):

An interest group that is unincorporated (a community of interest, geography, practice or identity)

Community business

Democratic business

Co-operative

Social enterprise

Anyone looking for land for agroecological commercial farming who has an interest or is actively involved in a purpose driven venture.

Case Studies

Fordhall Organic Farm, in Market Drayton, north Shropshire, is England’s first community-owned farm following a high profile campaign in 2006. At the time over 8,000 people across the world supported siblings Charlotte and Ben Hollins to save their family home. Now owned by the community and farmed by Ben Hollins, Fordhall is a wonderful example of community spirit and real organic farming.

Find out more

Stockwood in Worcestershire includes 190 acres of land. The farm has a breeding flock of 200 Lleyn sheep, and a herd of 30 pure-bred traditional Hereford cattle. The animals are kept to the highest animal welfare standards and treated with homeopathy as a preventative measure. The farm also produces 30 acres of cereals.To secure this exceptional land free from pesticides and artificial fertilizers for future generations, the Parsons family came up with a unique solution. They have transformed the farm ownership from privately owned into the hands of the community and anybody that likes can now co-own a piece of a beautiful piece of farmland in Worcestershire.

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