As the average age of working landowners increases and younger generations increasingly choose jobs and lives in more urban or populated areas, the rural landscape is changing. And just as often as these changes present challenges, they present opportunities. While in Maine this spring, we visited two working farms that have addressed these types of challenges with creativity, making each challenge an opportunity to build community and connection around working lands: Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport and Aldermere Farm in Rockport.
Applications are due May 1st for the 2019 Montana State Hemp Program. The Montana Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Pilot Program included 58 hemp growers and included grew 22,000 acres of hemp in 2018, up from 550 acres in 2017. In 2018, Montana grew more hemp in terms of acreage than any other state.
Private landowners in Montana now have another option when considering how to integrate hunting into their land management operations and stewardship strategies. The Montana Hunter Advancement Program promotes safe, ethical, and responsible hunting through its focused “Master Hunter” certification program, offered in partnership with forward-thinking private landowners across the state.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture census data, the average age of farmers and ranchers exceeded 58 years of age for the first time in 2012. Succession planning is one of the aspects of aging land operators and properties nearing transition.
University extensions in both Idaho and Montana are experimenting with various varieties of berries in an effort to determine which berries, if any, can be grown successfully at a commercial scale in the Intermountain West. Extension research primarily aimed at answering questions of which plant cultivars are going to do well and fit their markets helps landowners potentially increase their likelihood of success.
Each year the USDA NASS releases cash rent amounts by land use for various states and regions across the country. In Idaho cash rents for all land types, irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pasture, posted declines from 2016 to 2017. In Oregon and Washington, cropland rents increased year-over-year, but 2017 pasture rents decreased from the previous year.
Nationwide, farm real estate values average $3,080 per acre in 2017, up $70 an acre or 2.3 % from 2016. The Mountain region has the lowest farm real estate value at $1,130 per acre. The value of cropland in the same region increased 1.1% year-over-year to $1,780 and pasture land values rose 1.3% to $625 per acre in 2017.
Just outside of Bozeman in Kelly Canyon, Jennifer and Chris Boyer raise boer and nubian goats on Farm 51. They provide sustainably-raised goat meat to restaurants in Bozeman and to consumers through the local Community Co-op. Farm 51 has grown organically from a hobby to a business for the Boyers.
Montana seems to have an unusually high concentration of makers.
The Montana Television Network (MTN) recently re-launched the Under The Big Sky brand in part to feature the incredible depth of talented makers in the state. Focusing on first-person storytelling, MTN has created the new show to highlight the people, places and organizations that continue to make Montana a strong and dynamic community, and pave the way for the future while embracing and celebrating the past.
The High Divide region of Idaho and Montana straddles the Continental Divide along the Idaho-Montana state line and is the center of connectivity between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Crown of the Continent and the wilderness Central Idaho. Although the region only encompasses two states, it has continental significance because it houses headwaters for the Missouri and Columbia watersheds and it is a stronghold for wildlife that have disappeared from much of their historic range.
To protect this crucial area, the High Divide Collaborative is bringing stakeholders together to work collectively to conserve and restore lands of importance for local communities and to protect ecological integrity at the landscape scale.
The agriculture industry dominates the Montana economy. In Montana, agriculture is a $4.5 billion industry with a connection to one in five Montana jobs. There are 28,000 farms and ranches in Montana. And, the state is #1 in the nation in production of pulse crops and #2 in organic acres. All of these farms, ranches, crops, and people that work in the industry are affected by climate.
According to ongoing research, by 2050 Montana will likely realize a 4-6 degree increase in the temperature, 20-40 fewer days below freezing, and 5-10% less summer rain.
By offering buyer's representation to prospective landowners and operators, and seller's representation and marketing to property owners, we work to minimize risk, identify and capitalize on opportunities and ultimately to simplify landownership for our clients. As part of this service line, we are debuting the Property Listings section of our website.
Every winter, The Land Report releases a Top 100 List of America's Largest Landowners. Earlier this month, the magazine unveiled the 2016 list. Though the top two remain unchanged, there are many new names on this year's list. Of the top 25 landowners by acreage, 20% are classified as "new to the list" meaning that in 2015 their land holdings did not qualify them for a spot in the top 100.
Initially drawn to Pfister Land Co. because of the company's professional reputation and proven track record of interesting projects across the west, Kelly ultimately decided to partner with Rob Pfister because of their shared values and the similarity of the business foundation of Pfister Land Co. and Topos & Anthros.