Title

Legal Institutions of Farmland Succession: Implications for Sustainable Food Systems

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Keywords

Legal institutions, farmland succession, transfer of property, control over farmland, determinants of sustainable environmental outcomes

Abstract

The legal institutions relevant to farmland succession — defined as the transfer of property in and control over farmland — are increasingly important determinants of sustainable environmental outcomes on modern farms. The history of farmland succession has been written, by and large, through extra-legal processes of transfer and inheritance between generations of close family relations. This familiar “family farm” model, however, is rapidly being replaced by succession arrangements between non-relatives, often strangers, with entrant farmers from non-agricultural backgrounds. As a growing number of current farmers retire and seek creative ways to transfer control and ownership of their farms, the availability and content of property arrangements on farmlands acquire a new significance. The resulting formalization of farmland succession places greater demands on policy makers to craft farmland tenure options and supporting institutions that are suitable to a wider diversity of needs, particularly among small farmers, and to consider the impacts of these arrangements for sustainable food systems over the long term.

Comments

(2013) 65 Maine Law Review 381

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