Press "Enter" to skip to content

Guidestone – New Ways of Thinking About Agriculture in Colorado – Pt. 2

by Mike Rosso

Guidestone, who is helping move the Upper Arkansas Valley into the 21st century with their Land-Link initiative and other farm and agriculture-based programs, has big goals for the future.

Guidestone looks to increase its educational offerings by organizing a Beginning Farmer Training Program through the Land-Link Initiative. The program will assist young farmers to develop their skills around building a successful farm business and would include such classes as financial planning, market strategies, production techniques and food policy. They intend to develop an internship and mentoring program that will give on-farm training for new farmers that seek hands-on experiences before launching their own farm enterprise. In the long run, Guidestone seeks to create farmland access for next generation farmers by holding title or lease to agricultural lands to preserve them in perpetuity and then sub-lease these properties to next generation farmers for local food production. The organization anticipates working with the local land trust organization, the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas, to create affordable access to farmland for this purpose.

Small farmers face an overwhelming number of obstacles to success, including the cost of transportation, the downturn in the economy as well as prohibitive legislation regard food production on a local level. Add to this the federal subsidies given to big agro-business which creates an unequal playing field right out of the gate.

Not all longtime farmers and ranchers are convinced of the practicality of some of Guidestone’s goals and approaches to agriculture. Many of them “tend to throw up communication barriers,” when discussing organics as a viable long-term solution for sustainable agriculture, according to founder and director David Lynch. “Local food production is still viewed by the old ranching community as a novelty rather than a viable approach to successful farming” he says, and believes there is much work to be done to help bridge the gap between long term resident farmers and ranchers and the new generation of ideas that focus on sustainable, alternative agriculture.

To begin the process with Guidestone, landowners and new farmers are asked to complete a questionnaire describing their goals, experience, situations and resources needed. The information is entered into a database and Land-Link staff screen applicants for common goals and interests. Guidestone can also assist in negotiating fair land agreements to ensure an equitable arrangement.

Landowners and retiring farmers can enlist Guidestone to assist them in finding prospective farmers interested in leasing or buying a farm. They offer technical assistance for farmland transition, conservation easements, estate planning and other resources to help land remain agricultural.

For more information about Guidestone call 719-395-5814 or visit or