Washington State Financing Initiative Allows Quick Action to Purchase and Protect Farmland

Washington State’s new Farmland Protection and Affordability Investment program (FarmPAI) will help land trusts move quickly to protect critical farmland from development, says American Farmland Trust. The program will utilize $7 million in state funding to help land trusts and individual farmers purchase working farmland while they are arranging financing alternatives. Under one scenario, a land trust would purchase land and hold it while an individual farmer secures financing. The trust would continue to hold a conservation easement on the land. The program has an explicit commitment to equitable access for would-be farmers who are Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Carol Smith, Executive Director of the Washington State Conservation Commission, explains, “As a new tool in our toolbox, FarmPAI will allow conservation groups to step in and acquire priority farmland and provide an opportunity for land to be offered back to farmers at its agricultural value…Land affordability is a critical issue for the next generation of Washington farmers.”