Article written by Tom Monson
Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) was provided a $65,000 grant by two Minnesota Farm Credit organizations. AgStar Financial Services, a Mankato-based Midwestern leader in agricultural loans, and AgriBank, its St. Paul-based funding bank, presented the grant at a media event at Emerging Hmong Farms north of Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
Land access is a major hurdle to prospective crop-producing farmers. CEDA will construct an inventory of farmable public lands to be made available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and Karen. Additionally, CEDA will catalog tools – such as technical and financial assistance – available to help secure and develop farms.
“We are excited to begin establishing a tool to help emerging farmers easily access available farm land. It will fill a void in determining accessible land for farmers,” said Ron Zeigler, President and CEO of Community and Economic Development Associates.
“Emerging farmers lack availability of technical assistance, capital and land,” said John Monson, chair of the AgStar Fund’s Board of Trustees. “AgStar has worked hard to address availability of technical assistance and capital, but land has remained a challenge to find. This will help address that challenge.”