Land Prices a Big Barrier to Beginning Farmer Entry

Unaffordable land stunts new generation of small farmers in California (by Julia Scott – Mercury News)

This story was produced in partnership with KALW 91.7 FM. Tune in to KALW’s Crosscurrents at 5 p.m. Monday to hear from California’s emerging farmers, or listen to the podcast at

EXCERPT: In 2005, would-be farmers Nancy Vail and Jered Lawson spotted an old barn along Highway 1 that would make a good produce stand, along with 13 acres of prime coastal property, available for $1.25 million. They jumped at the chance to buy it. “We were incredibly lucky,” Vail said. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s actually pretty good.”

Indeed, Vail and Lawson, who operate Pie Ranch, a nonprofit educational farm on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, were lucky to find land to farm. They are part of a new and growing generation of farmers who aspire to deliver locally grown organic food to their communities but can’t usually afford the land to do so…

2 Comments on Land Prices a Big Barrier to Beginning Farmer Entry

  1. Try the Midwest and other places besides CA. There’s better and cheaper farmland in the heartland.

  2. @Lee: Yes, but that also means you have to live in the Midwest….haha. That would be difficult after living in CA (I’m from the midwest). There IS cheaper land in certain parts of California….after all, it is a HUGE state. Obviously, ocean-side land is going to be astronomical.

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