How can you make your annual landlord discussions more productive and enjoyable? First, consider your landlord’s perspective, encourages Chris Barron, director of operations and president of Carson and Barron Farms Inc. in Rowley, Iowa, and a financial consultant for Ag View Solutions.
Cash-rent agreements are two-way deals, he says, and you need to consider your landlord’s point of view when coming to terms with the price.
“Base the conversation around the facts,” says Barron, also a Top Producer columnist.
He offers these strategies to implement in your cash-rent negotiations.
1. Communicate early and often with your landlords.
“With communication, more is better,” Barron says. “Think about several of your different landowners, you probably have the best relationship with are the ones you communicate with the most.”
Barron suggests making a list of the landowners you haven’t visited or talked to in awhile and make it a priority to reconnect with them.
2. Don’t wait for Sept. 1 to talk to your landlords.
Just because most leases annually renew on Sept. 1, don’t make that your deadline, Barron says. Many land improvements such as tiling or irrigation decisions should be made prior to that date. Additionally, if you agree asking for a lower rent, you don’t want to spring that discussion on your landlord so close to the deadline.
3. Share your market, yield and profit potential outlook.
When you meet with your landlord, be transparent about your operation, Barron says. Talk through the current farm economy, market prices and your production expectations.
“It’s OK to be positive and have a good outlook,” he says. “That doesn’t mean the rent will go higher if you have a positive outlook.”
4. Leave something with your landlord.
A kind gesture speaks volumes, Barron says. Give your landlord a gift of some kind, such as sweet corn, a farm hat or other token of your appreciation. Those gifts, combined with services like fixing fence or snow plowing their driveway in the winter are greatly appreciated.
“Beyond those nice services, provide information during growing season,” Barron says.
Share updates when you’re apply fertilizer, combat weeds or harvest in the fall. Also, if you have a drone, make a video of your landlord’s land and show it to them.
“These things go a long ways in growing that relationship,” he says.
5. Ask two important questions.
At the end of your conversation, Barron suggests asking these questions:
- Is there anything changing in your world?
- What can I do better?
Tenants can be dealt a huge blow if a landlord decides to sell land or is shopping around for a new tenant, Barron notes.
“Be proactive,” he says. “Tell your landlord that it’s important we have a good working relationship.”
Have questions for Chris Barron? Contact him at email@example.com