The Lay of the Land: An Interview with Emy Brawley

A flyer for this video depicting a young female farmer riding an old tractor

Here’s the pickle that many beginning farmers with a few years of farming under their belt find themselves in – they’re eager to buy land so they can invest in the soil, build infrastructure, and grow their business, but farmland prices are very high, the farmers often don’t have much cash, and their limited finances are also stretched by the need to buy equipment and infrastructure. 

So even if they find an attractive and suitable property, it can be impossible to actually make a purchase work.

This is the challenge that The Conservation Fund (TCF) sought to address with the launch of their Working Farms Fund in the Atlanta area. Their creative approach was a success with a wide diversity of farmers, so, with the help of Emy Brawley, TCF’s Great Lakes Regional Director, they’re bringing that program to the greater Chicago area. 

Just one of the key elements of the Working Farms Fund is the use of conservation easements that simultaneously protect farmland from ever being developed while also making the eventual sales price to a farmer more affordable.

Please check out this ~18-minute conversation we had with Emy. Then feel free to reach out to Emy to learn more at ebrawley@conservationfund.org.