Website helps farmers, landowners make connections

SEATTLE — A Washington state organization dedicated to preserving farmland, has a new online tool that connects farmers with landowners.

PCC Farmland Trust’s new website is called Farm to Farmer.

The idea behind the online tool is to make sure farmland in the Puget Sound area stays in production by helping farmers obtain land from retiring farmers or other landowners.

Molly Goren, the communications manager for the trust, said the organization is focused in the Puget Sound region because the price of land is so high near Seattle.

Farm to Farmer isn’t just a website, there are also two farmers on staff who “serve as the human component to help make as many matches as possible,” Goren said.

The farmer representatives help users with their listings, answer questions and make sure that farmers or landowners are representing themselves in the best way. Goren said the two representatives can even visit the properties being listed, if need be.

To list land or contact farmers, users must first create an account. Currently there are 5 landowners and 10 farmers using the tool.

Users log onto the website and create an account, where they answer basic questions such as address, phone number, name and whether they are a real estate agent. Then users choose between searching for land or searching for a farmer to manage or buy their land.

The main goal now is to get as many users on the site as possible, she said.

“So far it’s just getting folks up on the site,” Goren said.

Farm to Farmer hopes to have 100 users by the end of its first two years, according to Goren.

Currently the website is open to any farmer looking for land. However, land that is listed must be in Pierce or King counties.

Farmers can search the site based on whether they want to lease or buy, whether the land is organic-ready and if housing is available on the site. Farmers listed can offer biographies, and the characteristics that would meet their needs. Some users said they were seeking organic-ready land, while others mentioned they needed property that would work for dairy goats.

Landowners could list a few acres best used as pasture or they could list an operation as large as a dairy farm.

Goren said part of the importance of the project is it works with any size of operation.

It works on “any spectrum and any scale,” Goren said.