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Sharing Farm Equipment

Lower the debt load of owning and maintaining farm equipment by sharing it with another farmer. Splitting the use and costs of farm equipment is one way to add precious dollars to the bottom line and maybe even give you back a few extra hours in those long days.

Melissa O’Rourke is an extension farm and agribusiness management specialist at Iowa State University. She says there are many scenarios where a sharing agreement would work. One is between an aging farmer and a farmer in the early stages of their career.

"Maybe you need new equipment, or you need upgraded equipment, but are you at a point that you want to make that investment late in the career? Well, here’s a place where you can partner with somebody else who is maybe a beginning or mid-career of farming and you can share that," she says. "So, that older, more mature farmer can continue farming for a little longer, but not have to make those kinds of equipment investments."

The costs of jointly owning machinery should be shared equitably. Talk about things such as the acquisition of equipment, storage, costs of insurance and maintenance.  Put your agreement down in writing because human memory isn’t perfect.

"Have an attorney look it over to make sure that the language is understandable. Often times, people might talk about something, even put it in writing and not realize that the language isn’t quite as clear as it should be," says O'Rourke. "And then when you have, you know, maybe a very expensive repair, that’s when a disagreement can come up."