How to Acquire Land as a New Farmer or Rancher in the United States

Hosted by Sarah Gleason, Sonja Howle, and Abbey Smith

We are hosting this webinar because the question of land access comes up time and time again. Conferences. Events. Phone calls. Emails. The question arrives in various ways, but the essence is the same: how does a new farmer get started and access land? We dive into this question during this webinar with two amazing women who are living the answer to this question. Sarah Gleason is a new rancher working to acquire land for her bison herd. Sonja Howle helps new ranchers and farmers acquire the land of their dreams. Join us to learn from them first hand, and to ask questions that may help you on your own journey.


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Learn About the Hosts

Sarah Gleason is an award-winning, mission-based marketer who is passionate about developing strategic communication plans that engage audiences and motivate them to action. She has a proven track record in successful results-oriented business development, marketing, and fundraising.

Sarah is a 1st-generation bison rancher based in Durango, CO. She entered ranching after building a career in advocacy for regenerative agriculture and conservation. Sarah began her business in 2016, when she purchased 15 pregnant bison. She collaborates with her mentor to run her bison. Gleason Bison is a holistically managed, grass-fed bison operation committed to serving its community, regenerating the environment, and producing thriving animals.

Sonja Howle is the founder and creator of the Profitable Ranch Master Class (, an online, live and mentored course designed to provide aspiring ranchers with the foundational tools they need to determine the feasibility and implementation of their ranching enterprise.
Sonja was raised on a farm and ranch on the Kansas/Colorado border.  With a degree in business and marketing, her career has taken her to ad agencies, television and radio networks throughout Kansas, Texas and New Mexico.  While in New Mexico, she worked for a top real estate broker in leasing.  Later, as a dealer-owner for a major national barn kit manufacturer she saw, first-hand, the needs of the professionals transitioning to lives and careers in the country.

Abbey Smith serves as the Savory Global Network Coordinator. She is also owner and operator of the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management with her husband, Spencer. The Jefferson Center is an organic cattle ranch and Savory Network Hub in Fort Bidwell, California.

She spent two months in South Africa living with families on holistically managed cattle farms after graduating magna cum laude from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in animal science and a focus in communications and ethnic studies. She attended graduate school at the University of Nevada, Reno where she received a master’s degree in interactive journalism. At UNR, she wrote a business plan for an online business to connect consumers and producers of local food. Through the competition, Abbey met her former employer of nine years and was recruited into the online/digital business world. During the last nine years she rose to a position of leadership within the company, Swift Communications, and was involved in many new ventures. She loves to work in in fast-paced, team environments working on projects in emerging markets. Before graduate school, she served as the director of a non-profit organization for natural resource conservation called The River Center in Modoc County, California. This position taught her how to manage a budget and bring groups of people together, often times with conflicting viewpoints, in order to find common ground.

She grew up on a commercial cattle ranch in Indian Valley, in Plumas County, California. Her loving, large, loud family has lived in the valley for seven generations. Family is a source of joy to her. Her goal in life is to build a beautiful world for her daughter, Maezy, which is why she and Spencer are working to advance Holistic Management.

Living in the rural community of Surprise Valley, California and being involved in a global organization is a dream come true. Abbey serves on the Surprise Valley Education Foundation board and is involved in local food groups. She enjoys doing yoga, throwing kettlebells around, gardening, riding horses and hiking with her daughter. Her happiest moments are on the ranch with her family. She loves running and runs alone, except when in Africa.

Watch the Replay!

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