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Land Portal and Industrial Hemp Update, March 2019

In early May we will launch the new California FarmLink Land Portal. It will be a faster, more powerful platform supporting your ability to make connections with other people, both landholders and landseekers, and identify land opportunities, potential tenants, or collaborators. The new portal will enable you to:

• View messages sent and received to help you keep track of correspondence with landholders and/or landseekers.
• Conduct both a google-like search as well as filtered searches of Land Listings and Landseeker Profiles.
• Save your favorite Land Listings or Landseeker Profiles for future reference.
• Edit your profile or listing at anytime.
• Browse and search at faster speed than is currently possible.

The Land Listings will continue to be displayed on the California FarmLink website, viewable by anyone, but once registered, folks will log-in to the Land Portal to inquire about land opportunities or introduce themselves to others in our network. For current members like you, we will email 2-3 notices inviting you to create a new login. Look for that in mid-April.

Our web designers are working to make this a seamless transition. The project carries new costs for FarmLink, both for its creation and ongoing operation, and it will be necessary to increase our $15 annual fee, but it will remain affordable. As a current member, you will not be asked to pay any additional fee until your next membership renewal.

You may not know it, but some of you have been given a grace period as we’ve dealt with the issues with our current technology. Look for registration renewal reminders in the near future, offered at the current $15 fee. We’re excited to offer everyone a new set of tools before long.

Industrial Hemp Farming Update: The 2018 federal Farm Bill has authorized states to develop regulations related to the growing of industrial hemp. In recent weeks we have seen increased interest by landseekers wanting to grow hemp, and landholders willing to work with hemp farmers. In order to better serve this sector, we will soon add Industrial Hemp as a crop type in our application process. However, currently we are unable to provide lease assistance related to operations intending to grow hemp. In the future, farmers looking to grow industrial hemp will need to register and pay a permit fee of $900 per grow site to their County Agricultural Commissioner’s office. We have heard that the permit program may be ready by July, but cannot say for certain. When a permit is acquired, we will be able to provide lease-related technical assistance to farmers and/or landholders.

We will follow the development of the permit process which will be required by California law in order to grow industrial hemp. The regulations guiding that process are being developed, and this document provides an overview from the California Industrial Hemp Program. California FarmLink strongly urges any landholder considering an industrial hemp operation on their land to learn about the program and ask the farmer(s) to demonstrate that they have secured a permit.

At this time, California FarmLink is unable to provide loans for farm businesses that intend to grow hemp. However, we will develop a lending policy that adheres to federal regulations that the USDA Farm Service Agency recently informed us should be completed in time for the 2020 planting season. Thus, we do not expect to make such loans at least until next year.  Thank you.

We value your involvement and support, and we look forward to bringing new tools online to better serve you. Let us know if you have any questions. Thank you.

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