Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Neva Hassanein

Commitee Members

Joshua Slotnick, Larry Swanson


Aspiring Producers, Beginning Farmers, Farm, Farm Link, Farm Transfer, Land Link, Matching Service, Ranch, Retiring Farmers, Agriculture, Landowners


University of Montana


Western Montana’s agricultural land is rapidly being developed in the wake of an increasing population and aging farmers and ranchers. The subsequent high land values make it difficult for producers to access agricultural land. The Community Food and Agriculture Coalition has prioritized the creation of a land link matching service to help connect farm and ranch owners with people looking for agricultural land to expand or start production operations. This professional paper aims to provide the first step towards this objective by exploring how a matching service might be designed, administered and implemented. The research has two components: 1) to learn from existing land link programs about their strategies to facilitate farm and ranch transfers and suggestions about starting a matching service, and 2) listen to landowners’ reactions and thoughts about how a land link might encourage their participation and meet their needs and concerns. Six existing land link programs were analyzed through informal interviews of their directors and staff. Twenty-four of the region’s farm and ranch owners were informally phone surveyed. Based on the perspectives of western Montana’s farm/ranch owners and land link professionals, the report concludes by outlining recommendations and options for establishing a matching service in western Montana.



© Copyright 2006 Paul Fuller Hubbard