Thursday, December 27, 2012

Farming Arrangements

Today I wanted to write about the types of arrangements available to farmers in regards to land to farm.  In our particular area, most of the farmers have either been farming the ground for generations through ownership or their families have been renting from landowners for generations. Although we agree this a good thing, it also means land isn't easy to come by. 

For now let’s review the options, there are three that our farm family currently has in force.  We farm ground that we rent from others, crop share, or we own land.  

Alot of the ground that Milton farms we rent from other individuals.  This means we pay a fee annually to farm the ground that someone else owns.  The amount paid is agreed upon between farmer and landowner.  The farmer takes care of all the expenses of the crop that is planted and produced.  This means whether the crop on that particular field is a success or not, land rent is still due and must be paid.  Renting land has worked well for us and the families that rent to us seem to trust and value us as tenants.  We really appreciate the faith they have in us and we hope for years to come they will allow us to care of it.  Also that if the time arises that they would like to sell, that they would give us opportunity to purchase it.

Some of the land that Milton & I rent now, his father rented before him, which means it has been farmed by our family for at least 50 years! That being said, the land that his father rents doesn’t automatically go to Milton when RV wants to slow down on farming.  Ultimately, the decision is up to the landowners.  Which means Milton and his father visit with the landowner usually to express the interest.  We can only hope that they realize that Milton has already been farming their ground with his father for years and cares for it as if it were his own. We treat it with respect and care for it with all that we have. Some of the landowners live locally, some in other parts of Kansas, and we even have one that lives in California.  As the ownership changes to new generations of the landowner families, the agreements are usually re-discussed, and hopefully an arrangement including us to farm the ground comes out of that.  But with any business, there is risk, and that isn’t always the case.

The second option is to crop share with the owners of the land.  If you crop share, you will split the expenses and income on a percentage basis.  For example, it could be 2/3 share (Farmer) and 1/3 (Landowner) or whatever percentage is worked out between them. We have this type of arrangement as well on some of the land we farm.

The third option is to own the land you farm.  We do own some of our own land, so the expenses and profit are solely ours 100%. In the near future I plan to write a post regarding land ownership.

When speaking of legacy I do not feel that it only entails the land owned by generations of our own family.  The legacy we are creating and living and building is from the point of farming the land and includes the land that is rented and cropshared also.  For it has been done by our family for generations, we take pride in the confidence that the landowner’s families have had in us, and we hope to carry that tradition into the next generation of our farm family.

There are positives and negitives of each type of arrangement I have discussed today.  Some farmers only farm ground that they own, some only farm ground they can rent, and that is ok.  Whatever works for their farming operation is a positive, because keeping the farming operations at a family generation level is essential we believe.

Please feel free to ask any questions, I will do my best to explain. 

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