Plowing a path: State to buy farms to help new farmers

Plowing a path: State to buy farms to help new farmers
In this Tuesday, April 3, 2018, photo, farmers Sarah Turkus, left, and Dave Kuma, both of Providence, R.I., plant chives on a leased plot of land in Seekonk, Mass., as Sarah's dog Mabel, a 3-year-old hound mix, greets Dave. Rhode Island is going to buy farms and sell them to beginning farmers for dirt cheap. It's an unconventional approach to ensuring farming remains viable. The goal is to keep young entrepreneurs from moving to other states where land is cheaper. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is launching a program to buy farms and sell them to new farmers for dirt cheap.

A farm bought for ,000, for example, could then be sold for ,000. It’s an unconventional approach to ensure that farming remains viable.

The National Farmers Union knows of no other state that buys farmland to sell to farmers at less than market price. Other states give tax credits and loans to beginning farmers.

Thanks to million from an environmental bond, the state will buy a farm at the full appraised value, which takes into account the land’s worth if it was developed.

The state will resell the farm at the agricultural appraised value, which is its worth solely as a farm. That is typically 20 percent of the full value. The condition is that it must remain a farm.