Getting started

Talk with your farmer Farmers may see the value in a written lease, but since this is still not common practice in Ontario, a farmer may be reluctant or might be taken by surprise if you come on too strong. Start with a conversation to see if this is what your farmer would like, emphasize the benefits for the farmer and be sure to involve your farmer in every aspect of the process.

Determining a Sustainable Rent Someone could be the best farmer and soil conservationist in the area, and still go broke doing it. Because land prices and rental rates are not factored into commodity prices, farmers can be quickly caught in a cost-price squeeze. For agriculture to be sustainable, commodity prices and cost-of-production must to be factored into land rental rates. Other factors to consider when determining a sustainable rental rate include the productivity of the land, property taxes and the level of the renter’s investment in soil conservation.  Landowners can share both the risks and the rewards of agriculture through creating a flexible rental rate based on a “base plus bonus” formula. Click here for examples.

Environmental Goals  Begin the lease discussion with the intention of creating sustainability which, in this case, means long-term resilience to both weather and prices. Talk to your farmer about soil conservation strategies and find out if your farmer is aligned with your long-term goals. Some landowners and renters may wish for stewardship clauses to be included in the lease. If this is the case, it is better to stipulate the soil conservation practices and not the results, because most often the results will be out of the farmer’s control.