Thinking of making your land available to farm?
On this page you’ll find information about farm classification, what to consider when opening your land to sharing, assessing your land for farming, guides to sharing your land, things to know entering into an agreement and more.
Why share your land?
Land suitable for farming is progressively more challenging for farmers to obtain. Land prices are increasing as well as under the constant threat of development. However there are many farmers, both new and experienced, looking for land to farm. One way land base can be is to share land not fully utilized and make it available for agricultural pursuits. Providing arable land for farmers brings a number of benefits to landowners and the community.
By sharing your land you can contribute to the
- land value by having someone maintain or increase its productivity.
- local economy by creating space self-employment and entrepreneurship for both new and expanding agricultural businesses
- food system by encouraging more local food production and consumption in households and retail outlets
- larger community by supporting growth of local markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and preserving and protecting the rural landscape.
A significant benefit to sharing your land is that landowners may benefit financially through “farm tax status” which reduces taxes on property used for agriculture.
Farm Classification (BC Assessment)
- Application for Farm Classification
- Farm Land Assessment
- Farm Property Inspection
- Classifying Farm Land
- Classifying Land Leased to Farmers
- Classifying Land Used for a Retired Farmer’s Dwelling
- What’s New in Farm Assessment
Where do I start?
Start by working through the following questions to see where you are in the planning stages of making your land available.Having plenty of lead time for this process (1-2 years) to work through the issues that will arise in planning for land sharing.
- Have you assessed your land for agricultural suitability?
- Has your land been farmed previously? If so, what worked? What didn’t?
- What length of tenure can you commit to?
- Do you want to be involved with the farm and how?
- What do you know about yourself as a communicator?
- Are you retiring from farming? Do you want your land to continue to be farmed? What type of succession plan would make sense for you?
Are you ready to share your land?
Start with what you would like to get out of making your land available. Even though you may not need or want to share the specifics of your answers with the person who may end up sharing your land, the process of considering will help you gain a clearer understanding of what you need from the relationship.
Begin by asking yourself:
- What do I want to gain out of this? Can you articulate your values and goals, and rank these in order of importance—you can’t always get what you want so it’s helpful to articulate what are the most important.
- What can I offer to reach these goals? What is the minimum I need for this to work?
- What do I need from my partner farmer to reach these goals?
- How will you verify a good fit? Consider properties of the facility/farm and also the compatibility of both parties
Specific issues to consider
Some issues come up for almost everyone in their planning process. These issues are more concrete than the preceding ones and will help you define the actual content of your relationship with your partner farmer. Once you have thought about content, you will be able to select a format that will suit the content and be the best vehicle for your relationship.
What follows is a skeleton list of the issues, without any detailed information. Once you have had a chance to look this list over, there will be some items that you will want to go to in detail immediately.
- Will sharing my land be of benefit or hindrance? Some land owners may suffer negative financial impacts if they change the use of their land by sharing it, alternately it may be of benefit to share land and gain farm classification. Before entering into a land share agreement, it is advisable to consult your financial advisor to ensure your status under capital gains tax or Canada Pension Plan rules (for example) are not put at risk.
- How and when to start
- How and when to end, a termination mechanism [renegotiation?]
- Who will pay for what improvements/enhancements over time?
- What do you know about yourself as a communicator?
- How do you anticipate working through decision making and conflicts as they arise?
- Existing legal considerations
- What ifs
Resources for helping you work through idea of sharing your land
- Is your land suitable to be farmed? Assessing Land for Agricultural Suitability (LLAF)
- Farmland Leasing for Private Landowners: A Short Guide (Land for Good)
- Landowner’s Guide to Leasing Land for Farming (Land for Good)
- Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing (Drake University Agricultural Law Centre)
- Lease Agreements Guide for Landowners and Farmers (UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture)
- Managing Landlord-Tenant Relationships: A Strategic Perspective (Ohio State University Extension)
- Checklist of Discussion Points Between Landowner and Land user (LLAF)
- Factsheet on Farm Partnerships (Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Ontario)
Also see sample agreements