Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Creative Farm Leasing

From time to time I receive e-mails from people asking about how they can get into farming or how we are making it financially possible (more on that specifically soon). Well, I had those questions running through my mind when I came across this old article on the New Farm website. It is from all the way back in January of 2007, but it seemed very timely to me because of the e-mails I have received lately. It also made me wish I could find a deal like this.

The title of the article is, "A Good Deed: Young farmer couple and established landowner explore innovative land access with trust, hard work and patience in Old Virginia." Basically this couple came up with a very creative farm lease in conjunction with a land owner that was already in the business of grassfed beef, but had room to spare. To me it sounds like it was a win/win for everyone involved despite some of the problems that they have faced and surely will face.

Remember, I said the posts would be short this week... This is one of those short ones, but if you have a chance to read the article I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, I would love to hear about any other creative ways that people have gotten into farm that you know of.


Rich said...

"...Basically this couple came up with a very creative farm lease in conjunction with a land owner..."

Wasn't it mostly a matter of the landowner looking for someone to lease his land rather than the couple convincing the landowner to lease them the land?

The relevant question is 'What caused the landowner to look for someone to farm his land'?

If that question can be answered, then it might be easier for this type of aspiring farmer to arrange a similar lease agreement with a landowner.

The first step to direct-marketing any product is to determine what the customer wants and why he wants it. After determining what motivates a landowner to want to lease his land to a beginning farmer it might be easier to "sell" yourself and your future farm to the landowner.

Ethan Book said...

Rich - I think you may be partially right, but it was really a combination of both of them coming up with the lease plan because it is pretty creative. The landowner is actually still farming his land with a grassfed beef business, but then he leased out 30 acres or so to them. It is pretty creative on all fronts I guess.

I do agree that the question of what caused the guy to lease would be interesting. Although we do know that he is interested in alternative styles of farming already.

Andrew the Organic Maven said...

Ethan I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned SPIN Farming in earlier comments, but it is a most creative way for people to get into farming.

Small Plot Intensive Farming is a number of systems devised by a Canadian couple who farm a number of sub-acre size urban plots and market their produce directly.

Often the landowners are happy to have their land being utilised and don't require a monetary payment.

This is only small scale but a great way to try farming before you commit big dollars, and also great for growing foods in and near our urban centres.

Check it out at

Steven said...

Today I was looking at the schedule for the National Small Farm Trade Show & Conference in Missouri and saw that they will have a presentation on SPIN farming. It really looks like it's going too be awesome. It's in Boone County, MO somewhere, so somewhere near Columbia, MO. The guy here that raises shrimp will be presenting there, so will Greg Judy, and Joel Salatin plus many others. I'm really thinking about going to 1 or 2 days of it.

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