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The Top Line

15:27PM Sep 05, 2008

We Need to Talk

The Online Lawyer says myriad reasons contribute to divorce in a marriage, but the underlying reason always comes back to the inability to communicate, compromise or commit. And those three are all related.

In business, it's not much different. According to an article by Monte Enbysk on the Microsoft Small Business Center Web site, bosses tend to say their employees leave a job because they're not satisfied with their pay. Fact is, a 2001 study shows the real reason typically looks them in the mirror each morning. That's right, poor bosses are most commonly cited as the reason employees leave a job. And what makes someone a bad boss? Poor communication skills.

In rents, too. Effective communication is missing in today's ultra-competitive cash rent market as well, says Bruce Erickson, cropping systems manager at Purdue Univer-sity. As farmers expand acreage, oftentimes at the expense of other farmers, hard feelings start to grow in farm communities.

In "Hang Onto Land", Erickson says that farmers on the losing end of a bid often blame megafarmers for paying high rents. That may be true, but it's a mistake to believe money is the only factor.

Lack of communication and understanding is what's usually to blame, says Dirk Talley, a farmer from northwest Missouri who also owns a real estate firm. Talley sees new landowners moving to the country from the Kansas City area who may want the ground to hunt. Or perhaps they are horse lovers and they seek a nice place to ride. He says you owe it to yourself and your business to make sure you understand the motives of the landowners. You should help them meet their goals and put a value on what you offer beyond a rent check.

If you know the landowner wants to hunt, leave a couple rows of corn for food plots. If they're horse owners, keep a path around the field mowed so they have a nice place to ride.

And when you do, make sure they know the financial value of this.

Sure, they want a return…it's an investment, after all. And yes, some landowners are looking at the ground only as an investment. But Talley and Erickson both stress that it's never safe to assume money is the only motivating factor.

Top Producer, September 2008