Next Gen Program Helps Beginning Farmers With Land Purchases

The Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program (NGFAP) offers land acquisition assistance to young and beginning farmers and will beginning accepting its initial round of applications in July. NGFAP has been in state law for a number of years but never received start-up funding until the 2017 Session.  The program is based under the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO).

An initial explanatory sheet has been released explaining how NGFAP works and what interested farmers will need to qualify. From the explanatory sheet:

The NGFAP is basically a rapid-response, farmland conservation easement-option-purchase program, designed to help facilitate the transfer of farmland to a new generation of farmers, while also effectively helping to preserve agricultural land from future development. MARBIDCO expects to have nearly $2.5 million to distribute to selected “Next Gen Farmers” during the coming fiscal year (when their farms are being purchased).

Essentially, the NGFAP allows MARBIDCO to provide a qualified “beginner farmer” with a farm purchase down-payment to meet the equity requirements of a commercial lender (in order to help the bank make a farm purchase loan). …

Through the NGFAP, MARBIDCO will pay up to 51% of the Fair Market Value (FMV) of the agricultural land only (with a cap of $500,000) with these funds being provided as a down-payment at a real estate settlement. The Next Gen Farmer will then have a period of several years to sell the permanent conservation easement on the farm to a rural land conservation program (thus extinguishing the development rights on the property forever).  If the Next Gen Farmer cannot sell the permanent easement within the specified timeframe, the option will be exercised (for no additional money) to grant the easement to a “default easement holder” (most likely either the county agricultural land preservation program or a farmland conservation program selected by MARBIDCO).

MARBIDCO anticipates that the NGFAP application materials will be available for viewing on its website by July 1, 2017. …

Further information about the NGFAP may be obtained by contacting Allison Roe, MARBIDCO Financial Programs Associate, at (410) 267-6807, or by visiting MARBIDCO’s website at (after July 1st).

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