Whew! Harvest is done, and equipment maintenance and winterizing is either done or well under way. And now that the end of the year is fast approaching, it may be time to address landowners and soon-to-expire leases. As you address these issues, there are two words always to keep in mind: Don’t assume!
Some areas in which it is important not to make assumptions:
1. Lease Type
Just because a landowner has had a particular lease type for the last 20 years, don’t assume that is the best type for them going forward. It may be; in fact, it likely is. But perhaps something has changed with that landowner that would make a straight cash lease better for them than the crop share lease, or a flex lease better than custom farming.
You must find out if anything has changed before just renewing the same ‘ol lease you’ve been using for years, perhaps decades.
2. Lease Terms
Perhaps the lease type is fine, but when the rent payments are made or to whom they should be paid has changed. Does the landowner want payments given to a son or daughter now? Perhaps the landowner would like to be paid at a different time of the year to even out cash flow with other income they receive at certain times of the year.
If you don’t know, don’t assume!
3. Level of Communication Desired
If a landowner has recently retired, they might want to be more involved with the land and like to have more information about what’s happening. Or, perhaps they have taken up a new hobby and don’t want as much information as they used to. Maybe they would like a relative to become more involved or more in-touch with the family farm.
Whatever you have communicated in the past, don’t assume they want the same thing going forward. You should ask and find out.
4. Plans for the Land
Sometimes, landowners change their mind on their long-term plans for the farm. This could impact improvements that might be done such a tiling, razing an old building on the land or sale of the land as opposed to leaving it to heirs.
Any of these could impact the lease and so, you guessed it, don’t assume!
5. Care of the Land
A landowner might plan to move the location of their vegetable garden to be right next to the field which then could be impacted by spraying drift. Perhaps the landowner has taken up bird watching and now prefers that no roadsides be mowed until September to provide groundcover for birds or other wildlife.
Since it is impossible to know everything that a landowner might want or is considering, you must ask and, once again, don’t assume!
We Can Help
There is a host of other items that many producers overlook with their landowners. Additionally, every operation should have a plan for their landowner relations. If you don’t have a plan or if you desire to take better care of your landowners, then you might want to speak with FamilyFarms Group. We have a specific 20-point landowner relations program and assistance to help you take exceptional care of your landowners. To learn more, contact us at 877-221-FARM (3276) or on our website at www.familyfarmsgroup.com.