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Rooting out rental ground

Justin Davey 09/05/2012 @ 11:28am

It's no secret that acquiring land can be a difficult matter for young and beginning farmers, and many discuss their experiences in depth in the Farmers for the Future network. From discovering available land to gaining landlord trust, the situation can be daunting. Such has been the case for Keith Klinghagen of Clara City, Minnesota, who recently sought advice from other network members.

“As a young farmer, what advice is out there to acquire rental ground? Asks Klinghagen. “My wife and I currently do not crop farm, but we have raised livestock since graduating college. We have been unable to rent any land, having only tried advertising. What are some creative and innovative ways young farmers can find land to rent?”

“As a rule of thumb, renting fees are usually $30 an acre per year,” replies Curtis Ashley. “This has been the standard around here in North Carolina. When leasing land, make sure you have it in writing and you get the hunting rights on the land. I have seen what happens when landowners rent the hunting rights to someone else: Gates get left open and farmers working cows have had hunters shoot from any direction. Once while I was checking a cow giving birth at sunset, I had hunters spotlight over the top of me when they came out of the woods. Don't get me wrong, I am a big hunter, but people don't care what they do now days or at least around here. Good luck.”

“Communication is key,” says Bronson Allred. “It may be awkward to call folks you barely know to ask about renting their ground, but most people don't get too offended. If they do, don't give them your business. A lot of people will tell you custom work is a good way. But if you don't row crop, it may be a little harder to find work. The best advice I ever received is to just get your name out there by making phone calls and talking to people in person just to let them know you're interested.”

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Politics 09/20/2012 @ 7:46am I always find it amazing that articles like this rarely touch on the relationships and politics between neighboring farmers when land rental is involved. These articles make it sound as if you just blanket the area with phone calls and start building relationships. This is definitely part of the process, but not all of the process. I wish some of these farm publications would comment on how to proceed when almost every step a starting out or established farmer takes will take ground away from another farmer. It's part of the business I know. I see ground that I can farm better than the next guy, but at the end of the day I will still be a "Land Poacher" regardless of if I get the ground or not. These articles while helpful need to to address this vital issue - someone is most likely already farming the ground you want to farm and these are a few tips on how to deal with that.

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