AGROFORESTRY LAND ACCESS

FREE Agroforestry Long-Term Lease Workbook

This Workbook is for farmers and landowners who have a long-term vision for a piece of land and are willing to collaborate and commit to a lasting arrangement to make such a vision a reality. It offers an overview of legal considerations for long-term leases that address key particularities of agroforestry. Agroforestry is a suite of practices and tools that involves intentionally integrating trees and shrubs into traditional crop and animal farming systems. While much of this Workbook is framed in the context of agroforestry, many of the issues raised are relevant for farmers and landowners who aspire to enter a long-term lease for annual crop or livestock farming.

VULCAN FARM (Sidney, IL) utilizes a 99-year agroforestry lease. Landowner grazes sheep in silvopasture, while lessee grow a variety of tree crops.

Other Educational Resources

SATURN FARM (Ogden, IL) utilizes a 30-year agroforestry

lease to grow chestnuts, hazelnuts, currants, and rhubarb.

FERAL FARM (Palmyra, WI) utilizes a 10-year agroforestry

lease to grow chestnuts & hazelnuts with hay alleys.

GETTING STARTED

Finding, Assessing, and Securing Farmland: Plain-language guide from New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, Tufts University

Document for farmers looking for land. Some questions this guide will help answer:

  • What kind of land am I looking for?
  • What sort of land tenure situation is right for me?
  • How do I get started with my land search?
  • What should I look for during a farmland visit?
  • How do I negotiate with a landowner and sign an agreement to use the land?

 

Ag Decision Maker: An Agricultural economics and business website – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Created for landowners; Topics covered:

  • Livestock outlook and prices
  • Whole Farm Leasing – improving contracts and current cash prices for IA
  • Whole Farm Transition & Estate planning –Constructing a farm succession; plan elements to consider, forms of property ownership, estate planning goals; tips for successful business transfers; income tax considerations of business transfers

 

Land Owner’s Toolbox: Sustainable Leasing

  • Land Owner’s Guide – Using a lease agreement to promote sustainable farm operation and ecosystem services contracts
  • Determining Priorities – Promoting creative lease contracts that take the landowner and tenant needs into consideration
  • Video Library - land tenure and stewardship policy in Iowa, leasing to new farmers, conservation easements, woodlot management, and more
  • Quick References – document provides short introduction to how to encourage sustainable practices on leased farmland including examples of lease provisions.

 

ACCESS TO LAND

Access to Land: Methods, policies, and resources – Partnership for America’s New Farmers

Website for new farmers. Topics include:

  • Methods of access – Custom farm contract, land sale contract, farm lease contract, last will & testament.
  • Policies for Access – Landlinks [SRT-2]& transition assistance, incentives for landowners, tapping social investments, manipulating land values
  • Resources – links to resources and specific land access documents and policies

 

Land access: Proven strategies – Agrarian Trust

A collection of useful strategies for land access: a dataset of possibilities, to broaden strategic thinking on land access.

 

Land Tenure Options and Strategies – University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Document for farmers and those seeking land. Topics include:

  • Land tenure options and alternative models
  • Finding land, signing a lease, and USDA programs
  • Resources and references

 

15 ways to secure land – California Farmlink

Document for farmers seeking land. Brief primer on ways to secure land.

 

Finding a Farm to Buy or Lease – Cornell University Northeast Beginning Farmers Project

for farmers seeking land. Topics include:

  • Introduction to written leases, determining cash or share rent, renting buildings, and sample leases
  • Resources for samples of different kinds of lease agreements
  • Resources for helping find a farm
  • Resources for finding a farm through a farm real estate broker

 

Alternative Tenure Options – University of Vermont Extension

Website for new farmers. Topics include:

  • Short and long-term lease arrangements
  • Community land trusts and ground leases
  • Cooperative ownership
  • Incubator arrangements
  • Resources for alternative tenure

 

LAND-FARMER MATCHING SITES

Land Link Directory – National Young Farmers Coalition

California Farm Link

The Land Connection

The Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings Project

 

LAND TRUSTS

Gaining Ground: How CSAs Can Acquire, Hold, and Pass On Land

Document from Equity Trust for farmers and landowners.

Topics include:

  • Finding your Place
  • Forming a Relationship with a Land Trust
  • Balancing Individual and Community Interests
  • Financing the Purchase
  • Setting an Example
  • Seeds for a Future Harvest

 

LAND LEASES

The Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing – Drake University Agricultural Law Center, Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative

Website or document for landowners. Topics include:

  • Basics of sustainability, farm leases
  • Determining priorities
  • Talking to your tenant: terms and concepts, understanding the tenant’s perspective, social dimensions of landlord-tenant relationship, finding the right tenant, keeping the right tenant.
  • Farm Leases, Sustainability, and the Law
  • Key Considerations for a Sustainable Farm Lease Agreement
  • Additional considerations

 

A Landowner’s Guide to Leasing Land for Farming – Land for Good

Document for landowners. Chapters include:

  • Welcoming farmers on your land
  • Understanding your land
  • Types of farming endeavors
  • Finding your farmer
  • Successful landowner-tenant relations
  • Lease agreements
  • Tax and legal considerations
  • Stewardship guidelines
  • Landowner checklist
  • Resources
  • Sample leases

 

Leasing Land to Farmers: Handbook for Land Trusts,

Municipalities, and Institutions – Land for Good

Document for farmers. Chapters include:

  • The growing importance of leased land
  • Why lease? Many Benefits!
  • Lease considerations: Before you start
  • Elements of a good lease
  • Assisting others with the lease process
  • Community farms
  • Alterations and capital improvements
  • A checklist for land trusts, institutions, and municipalities
  • Typical conservation provisions
  • Sample request for proposals
  • Sample lease

 

Elements of a Good Farm Lease – Land for Good

Document for everyone with brief commentary on elements of a good farm lease.

 

Nuts and Bolts of Farmland Leasing (webinar ~1 hour video)—Land For Good, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Legal Services Food Hub

Agenda includes:

  • Access to land
  • Engaging legal help for land tenure
  • Finding the “right” fit

 

Ag Lease 101 (document library)—North Central Farm Management Extension Committee

Includes many resource documents on:

  • Lease publications: Fixed and flexible cash rental; Crop Share rental; Pasture rental; Farm buildings and livestock facilities rental; purchasing and leasing farm equipment; Beef cow rental; Farm building rental rate survey
  • Worksheets: Pasture lease; Beef cow lease
  • Lease forms: Cash farm lease; Crop-share lease; pasture lease; Farm building/livestock facility lease; Farm machinery lease for non-commercial transactions; Livestock rental lease

 

Leasing Agricultural Land for Grazing, Hunting or Livestock Webinar – The National Agriculture Law Center

 

Right of First refusal – Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation

Website for everyone explaining the importance of being clear in right of first refusal agreements and legal ramifications.

 

Financial and Tax Aspects

Tax Aspects of Leasing – Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

Document for farmers and landowners.

 

How to Determine the Right Farm Rental Rate – University of Vermont Extension, Vermont New Farmer Project

Document for farmers and landowners. Topics include:

  • Market rental rates
  • Owner’s farm ownership costs
  • Amount the farm business can afford to pay
  • Other costs or benefits the farmer or landowner adds to the arrangement.

 

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

Comments on conservation easements with option to purchase – Excerpted from “Preserving Farms for Farmers”

 

Forests and Lakes - Conservation for Landowners – Downeast Lakes Land Trust (Maine)

Website for landowners. Brief explanations of conservation options,

 

TEMPLATES, WORKSHEETS, AND COMMENTARY

Ag Lease 101 (document library)—North Central Farm Management Extension Committee

Includes many resource documents on:

  • Lease publications: Fixed and flexible cash rental; Crop Share rental; Pasture rental; Farm buildings and livestock facilities rental; purchasing and leasing farm equipment; Beef cow rental; Farm building rental rate survey
  • Worksheets: Pasture lease; Beef cow lease
  • Lease forms: Cash farm lease; Crop-share lease; pasture lease; Farm building/livestock facility lease; Farm machinery lease for non-commercial transactions; Livestock rental lease

 

Agricultural Ground Lease and commentary– Equity Trust.

 

Agricultural Conservation Easement and Commentary– Equity Trust

 

Grazing Lease Checklist – Texas A&M Extension

This list was written from the landowner’s point of view, but may also be useful to a lessee in the negotiation process.

 

Sample Lease contracts – Green Lands Blue Waters

Several sample contracts and two real examples; includes information on determining rental rates and potential responsibilities for each party.

  • Pasture rental arrangements
  • Pasture lease
  • Options for pasturing animals: leasing pasture or buying standing forage
  • Pasture lease – contract grazing agreement
  • Sample pasture lease agreement

 

Finding a Farm to Buy or Lease – Cornell University Northeast Beginning Farmers Project

For farmers seeking land. Topics include:

  • Introduction to written leases, determining cash or share rent, renting buildings, and sample leases
  • Resources for samples of different kinds of lease agreements
  • Resources for helping find a farm
  • Resources for finding a farm through a farm real estate broker

 

Agroforestry grant opportunities – Inside Agroforestry USDA

This issue of Inside Agroforestry provides examples of how USDA Farm Bill programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) grant program support agroforestry implementation, research and education.

 

LEGAL RESOURCES

Index of cases – National Agricultural Law Center

 

Tenancy law – Drake University Agricultural Law Center

 

Conservation law – Drake University Agricultural Law Center

 

Urban Ag law – UrbanAgLaw.org

This page details the process of accessing public lands, the purposes of and best practices for land trusts, and the urban farming land inventories conducted in cities around the country. There is also information regarding lease agreements and easements, particularly relevant to non-profit urban agriculture projects.

 

Greenhorns Land Tenure Guide

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