Farmland Leases: Keeping Your Landlord Informed

29 May '14

We touched base again with Patrick Lynch, Certified Crop Advisor to get his take on how farmland lease tenants can effectively communicate with their landlords about what’s taking place on the land. 

Since most farmers are either hitting the fields or should be soon, now is a great time to remind tenants of how important communication is when it comes to great farmland rental relationships.  
Pat said one of most effective ways of communicating what you’re doing on the land – is snapping a photograph. This truly is a case where a ‘picture is worth a thousand words.’
With today’s technology, particularly with digital photographs and how easily they can be shared, Pat suggests that farmers get into the practice of taking a picture (or pictures) of the landlord’s land, and giving it to them as a way to keep them up to date. 
Pat gave us some scenarios when photographs can be particularly valuable. 
For example, if there’s winter wheat and the crop looks good – that would be a nice picture to send.
Landlords love to see things happening on their land. 
If there is an issue that you have talked to the landlord about, such as, the land needing more drainage, that would be appropriate to show them what’s going on in that field with a picture. From photographing wet spots, documenting the installation of tile drainage, to after shots demonstrating the improvements to the land – pictures in all scenarios can help the farmer to communicate what is taking place on a particular property. 
If there are other issues, whatever they are, they can be addressed with a picture. 
Another one that comes to mind with some landlords is erosion, says Lynch.  If a renter is no-tilling soybeans into corn, it would be nice to send a picture, especially if it’s only rolling land to illustrate: ‘while erosion may be a problem – the way that I am working your land – I’ve got it under control.’
On the other hand, there are landlords that want to see their land ploughed even though some farmers may not want to. It would be appropriate to send a picture of some erosion on rolling land that has been ploughed to illustrate how farm practices impact the land. 
The idea behind using pictures is keeping your landlord informed. 
The bottom line for tenants is: You don’t want to lose your land. Often, too often, a renter presumes that because they are looking after the land and doing everything right, the landlord is pleased and knows this. But too often they do not know what is going on. It all comes back communications or lack of it. 
From our perspective, this is a great idea that is both simple and valuable for landlords. Farm landowners sometimes don’t know what they should be looking for in terms of feedback. Not only is a photograph evidence of what is taking place on the land, but photos also form a great archive of information that documents the land’s history over time. 
Pictures are a simple strategy that farmland lease tenants can use to make themselves stand out. 
As Pat says – “it’s just good business!” …and we wholeheartedly agree!

What do you think? Leave your feedback below!