Page 1: Scaling Up Regenerative Organic Farms

I own an eighty-acre organic farm near Bennington, NE and a half-section of permanent pasture south of Massena, IA. Both places are leased to experienced cow-calf producers.

With the USDA’s Equity Action Plan in mind, my goal is to see that these farms can be leased and sold to young farmers from experienced low-and-medium income farm families. However, like thousands of others, my farms are too small (by themselves) to be profitable in either conventional commodity markets or in rapidly expanding specialty and organic markets.

Without reasonable and consistent profits, young farmers cannot support their families and pass land to the next generation. Farmland succession among low-and-medium income farm families is the foundation of sustainable food systems. 

Money and Markets

High land prices are often cited as the main barrier to farmland ownership among young low-and-medium income farmers. But given U.S. and world market conditions, land prices are unlikely to decline.

This makes access to markets and risk capital by low-and-medium income farm families the most important component of large-scale sustainable food systems.  Stated differently, we cannot build sustainable food economies on backs of poorly paid renters, farm hands, and food workers. 

Development Company

To address capital formation and market access among low-and-medium income farm families, I am inviting landowners near my Massena, Iowa farm to join me in forming a landowner-controlled development company that will, 1) Organize and help finance owner-operated commercial-scale regenerative farms, 2) Contract with locally owned food processing companies, and 3) Develop farmer-owned retail food brands.  

Once incorporated, this company will work much like a commercial real estate development group, with one major exception. The landowners, not the realtor and investors will control the company. 

I would appreciate inquiries from investors and farmers near Omaha and Des Moines. 

More Information

Page 2 explains basic concepts.

Planning is covered on page 3. 

Market issues are explained on page 4.

Page 5 summarizes our qualifications.

Emails and Meeting Notices

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Thank you.

Jim Steffen

Posted 03-19-2023