Looking for land to farm?
On this page you’ll find information about what to consider when looking for land, ideas of how to find land, things to know entering into an agreement and more.
Where do I start?
Before you proceed, think about how ready you are to be looking for land and give yourself plenty of lead time (1-2 years) to get yourself organized to get on land. Many land seekers have farm businesses in operation and are looking for a new property to farm on. However many new farmers are looking for land at the same time they are looking to get started in farming. Start at the beginning, are your ready? Let’s go!
Start by asking yourself
- Do I have the experience or training in agriculture I need?
- Do I have a business plan and am familiar with business resources to get my business operating?
Are you ready to share someone’s land?
Start with what you would like to get out of sharing someone’s land. Even though you may not need or want to share the specifics of your answers with the person who you may end up renting from, 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 landowner 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 land owner. 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.
- 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
Ready to connect about land?
- What is your plan to make a strong first impression?
- What form will your initial contact take: email, phone, face-to-face?
- How will you follow up on this first session?
Having worked through some of the above you’re well on your way to having a clear picture of what you need to make it work. Now, get looking for land!
What to consider when looking for land
- Assessing Land for Agricultural Suitability (LLAF)
- Characteristics that Comprise A Viable Farmstead (Just Food)
- Land. Liberty. Sunshine. Stamina. A Mini Compendium of resources for beginning farmers on the topic of ﬁnding sustainable land tenure (The Greenhorns)
- Accessing Land for Farming in Ontario (FarmStart)
- Acquiring Land to Farm:Where Do I Start? (Land for Good)
- Affording Ourland: Financial Literacy for Young Farmers (and all farmers) (the Greenhorns)
- Agrarian Trust has a wonderful site filled with resources, land access stories and land access strategies
- Finding, Assessing and Securing Farmland Guide (New Entry Sustainable Farm Project)
- Finding Land to Farm: 6 Ways to Secure Farmland (ATTRA)
- Getting on Solid Ground: 15 Ways to Secure Land (California FarmLink)
Writing a Contract
- Checklist of Discussion Points Between Landowner and Land user (LLAF)
- Factsheet on Farm Partnerships (Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Ontario)
- Managing Landlord-Tenant Relationships: A Strategic Perspective (Ohio State University Extension)
Also see sample agreements