The landlord-tenant relationship is vital, and like any relationship, you must invest time and effort to strengthen it.
Farmers who are honest and good stewards are who landowners want to rent to, says Mark Gannon, owner of Gannon Real Estate & Consulting in Ames, Iowa.
"Tenants have a great responsibility, and the land will treat you well if you take care of it," he says. "The world needs good farm operators." Gannon says the best tenants share several key characteristics.
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Act Professional. Treat the landlord relationship as an important business relationship. Dress and physical appearance are major components to your professionalism. Also, make sure all of your correspondence, written and verbal, is respectful and proper. Gannon says this is important, even if a lease agreement is between family members.
Prove Yourself. It’s one thing to say you take care of the land; it’s another to prove it. Share yield results, fertilizer applications, chemical records and crop insurance data with your landlord. Learn what environmental aspects they are worried about, and show how you are addressing it.
Share Farmland Data. Gannon also recommends sharing other records. Owners should have access to yield monitor reports, scale tickets, soil test results, drainage records and any government program information.
Distribute a Newsletter. Develop a good communication plan to help facilitate a long-term relationship, says Gannon, noting that a regular newsletter, either print or email, is best. Include information on land values, local farm and town issues, along with pertinent state and regional topics.