TOPEKA — The Kansas Rural Center will host a special mixer for Land/Farm Owners and Farm/Land Seekers at its annual Food and Farm conference from 4-5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8.

The mixer is free, but pre-registration is required and is separate from the regular conference registration. The mixer is also open and free to non-conference attendees. 

The conference will be held Nov. 8 and 9 at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview in Wichita.

Registration for both the mixer and the conference is available at https://kansasruralcenter.org/2019-conference/.

Many retiring farmers do not have a family successor in mind. Some landowners want to find a farmer who will use sustainable, regenerative or organic farming practices. Farm seekers are often looking for lease-to-buy opportunities or for learning opportunities. Finding affordable available farming land or farming opportunities is a big challenge for beginning farmers.

“Sometimes we hear from those seeking a farm or land to buy or lease, or for an opportunity to work with a farmer as they gain experience. Retiring farmers or absentee landowners who have inherited farmland also call seeking a farmer to farm the land as they would like to see it farmed,” said Mary Fund, KRC executive director. “A common theme is that land owners want someone who will care about the land and farm as they have; or seekers are looking for a farm learning opportunity to prepare them to lease or buy a farm, or maybe they are looking for land where they can put into practice sustainable, regenerative, or organic practices, or raise specialty crops with local and regional marketing options in mind.”

Research has shown that the biggest challenge for farm succession to a non-related successor is for these two groups to find each other; and successful transitions need time for relationship building. KRC will tackle this dilemma by offering a workshop at their annual conference bringing these two groups together — the farm/land owners and the farm seekers. The workshop requires separate registration from the conference overall. Only those who pre-registered for the workshop will be allowed to attend.

Attendees will be asked during registration to complete a short survey designed for them as a farm/land owner or a farm or land seeker. Registrants will be asked to describe what they are looking for in terms of a farm, type of farm, or what kind of farm or land they have available. This information will only be used to inform the workshop format, and names will remain confidential.

“The Mixer is a pilot effort or experiment,” said Fund. “It is not a matching service or a workshop to answer legal questions. It is an opportunity to meet like-minded people with similar goals. KRC hopes to gauge interest in how events like these might help land owners and seekers identify each other and establish a better understand of the challenges and opportunities they encounter. Hopefully it will also help the attendees refine what they are looking for in a farm or farming opportunity, and the options available for finding a successor, or partner in farming.”

For more information on the mxer, contact Mary Fund at mfund@kansasruralcenter.org or 866-579-5469.