The first time you connect with a landowner can be crucial — a bad first impression can prevent a potential long-term lease opportunity, while a great first impression can pave the way for a fantastic relationship. You want to make is as easy as possible for the landowner to want to work with you!
To Ensure a Good First Connection:
- Be prepared! Write down your farm plan. Include information on the following questions:
- How many acres do you want to lease?
- What will you raise?
- What is your farming background?
- What is your growing philosophy?
- How will you help add value to the landowner’s property? Are there improvements you can do for the landowner (note that this would require professional-level experience and skill)?
- What is your leasing history? Farming history?
- What are your top ten needs as a farmer? Answer some or all of the following questions:
- What hours do you work?
- Will you need to have deliveries come to the property? How often do you anticipate these deliveries?
- How you will ensure the landowner’s privacy and needs will be respected?
- How many employees/workers will you have on the property?
- How much privacy/autonomy do you require?
- Don’t be afraid to walk away! If you have a bad feeling about the property or the landowner, regardless of how wonderful the situation may seem in theory or on paper (or how desperate you feel), know that deciding not to lease a property can be the best choice for your business.
This changes somewhat after you have entered into an agreement, but know that this is always an option. Please reach out to your California FarmLink Regional Coordinator if you have problems with a leased property and are considering walking away! We can connect you with an attorney for some advice, if necessary.
- Understand that the landowner may be unfamiliar with farming. Be prepared to explain aspects of farming to the landowner that may seem obvious to you. Also understand that the landowner may have plans for their property that do not include your vision!
What to Avoid:
- Being unprepared and unprofessional. You would not consider coming to a job interview with no idea of what the job is or why you’re qualified for it! Approach this relationship in a similar way. Starting a farm is serious business.