Welcome to a toolbox of resources for farmers and landowners who are thinking about leasing land, or who want to improve their lease arrangement. Whether you’re a new or established farmer, leasing farmland is an effective way for you to gain affordable, flexible, and secure access to farmland and infrastructure. For private or institutional landowners, leasing land to a farmer using a well-designed agreement can be a “win-win” for you, the farmer, your land, and your community. Materials are most relevant to farming and farms in New England, but many may apply elsewhere.
Resources are organized by audience:
Farm Seekers – For current and prospective tenants
Landowners – For current and prospective landlords (individuals or institutions, private or public)
Farmers & Landowners – For both parties
Additional sections of resources include:
Quick Fact Sheets
Lease Examples and Templates
Farm Link Programs, where you can post or search for properties to lease
indicates Land For Good authored resource
For Farm Seekers
- New England Farm Leasing Tutorial.
Self-guided primer in four parts that includes a self-test and resource links.
- Nuts and Bolts of Farmland Leasing.
Webinar on farmland leasing basics by Land For Good, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and Legal Services Food Hub.
- Farm Access Methods.
Decision guide that lays out an organized and practical way of assessing different land access methods, including leasing.
- Farm Access Decision Tool.
Companion chart to the Farm Access Methods guide that compares land access methods and partners for more informed decision making.
- Lease Mediation.
Worksheet with questions for farmers to consider when working toward quality, durable leases.
- A Landowners Guide to Leasing Land for Farming.
Comprehensive guide to for private, individual landowners that explains what’s involved in leasing farmland, including land assessment, determining rent, liability concerns, choosing a tenant, and much more. 47 pp.
- Farmland Leasing for Private Landowners: A Short Guide.
Abridged version of the Landowner’s Guide to Leasing Land for Farming. A great introduction, and helpful to share with others involved. 6 pp.
- Leasing Land to Farmers: A Handbook for New England Land Trusts, Municipalities, and Institutions.
Detailed guide for public and organizational land holders. 44 pp.
- Lease Mediation.
Worksheet with questions for landowners to consider when working toward quality, durable leases.
For Farmers & Landowners
- Elements of a Good Farm Lease.
Concise list of important items to consider when developing a farm lease.
- Build-A-Lease Tool.
A unique, interactive online tool that guides you through crafting a farm lease. It includes definitions, FAQs, detailed fact sheets, sample language and fill-in spaces for the most common sections of a farm lease. You can customize and save your work, and print it out to share with the other party and/or your attorney.
- Liability and Insurance in a Farm Lease.
Short guide on farm risk, liability, and insurance that answers landowners’ and tenants’ common concerns. 6 pp.
- Inspirations for Creating a Long-Term Agricultural Lease for Agroforestry: A Workbook.
Unique guide about long-term leases involving agroforestry, including ways to account for the value of perennial crops and trees. Farm Commons and the Savanna Institute.
- Farmland Tenure and Leasing.
A chapter from “A Legal Guide to the Business of Farming” that lays out the legal considerations, provisions, responsibilities, and rights for both landowners and tenants. UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
- Farmland Access Legal Toolkit.
The leasing section covers the basics, including state-specific regulatory considerations and an online, fill-in Farm Lease Builder. Vermont Law School.
- The Land Access and Tenure Toolshed.
Resource list including “Crafting a Lease Agreement” and “Determining the Right Farm Rental Rate.” UVM Extension.
- A Lease Agreements Guide for Farmers and Landowners. An overview authored by Vermont Land Link that covers leasing steps, current use property taxation, rights, obligations, and more.
- Managing Landlord-Tenant Relationships: A Strategic Perspective.
Substantive article that offers guidelines and strategies towards a successful landlord-tenant relationship. Ohio State University Extension.
- Farm Leases and Rents in Family Farm Series Publications: Farm Management.
Overview publication covering different types of leases and lease payment calculations. Family Farm Series of UC Davis.
Resource links for Midwestern states, but widely applicable.
Quick Fact Sheets
- Describing The Premises. How to provide an accurate description of what is being leased.
- The Term. Understand the period of time—or duration—that the lease will be in effect.
- Lease-to-Own Strategies for Acquiring Farmland. Discover affordable alternative to farm ownership.
- Determing The Rent. Learn various factors that can influence the rental price for farmland.
- In-Kind (Non-Cash) Farm Rent. How to agree on terms and quantify the value of in-kind rent.
- No Such Thing as Free Rent. Explain contracts or gifts since “free rent” isn’t a legal term.
- Land Use, Management, and Stewardship Plans. Discover what’s in a good planning document.
- Insurance and Liability. Identify the responsibilities of each party.
- Tax Aspects of Leasing Farmland. Understand the basic tax rules that guide farmers renting land.
- Maintenance, Repairs, and Improvements. Learn what to include in a well-thought-out land use plan.
- Termination and Default. How to state these terms clearly in a farm lease.
Lease Examples & Templates
- Example Farm Lease. Sample of a basic farm lease. 4 pp.
- Example Farm Lease with Option to Purchase. Sample farm lease. 5 pp.
- Build-A-Lease Tool.
A unique interactive online tool that guides you through crafting a farm lease. It includes definitions, FAQs, sample language and fill-in spaces for the most common sections of a farm lease. You can customize and save your work, and print it out to share with the other party and/or your attorney.
- Short-Term Farm Lease Template. Customizable lease template with blanks to fill-in.
- Multi-year Farm Lease Template with Annotations. Customizable lease template with blanks to fill-in and basic explanations.
- Cash Lease Template. Customizable lease template with blanks to fill-in. By California Farm Link
Farm Link Programs
Farm link programs connect farm seekers with farmland owners (farming and non-farming) interested in putting or keeping land in active farming. Each program has its own methods to post and search for properties – and many also offer technical assistance, education and resources. Read our FAQ on farm link programs. Below are resources specific to New England. Outside of New England, visit the directory of farm link programs in the Farmland Information Center at American Farmland Trust.
A free website to post or search for farm properties for sale or lease, covering all six New England states.
- New England Farm Link Program Guide
Explains the our farm link programs in New England (Vermont Land Link, Maine Farm Link, Connecticut Farm Link and New England Farmland Finder) – and what they offer.
- How to Create Effective Online Property Postings for Farm Link Websites
A guide to creating accurate and appealing online farm property postings; how to convey information most relevant for farmers.
- New England Farm Link Collaborative
A formal network of farm link programs that collaborates to build awareness, readiness and connections among farm seekers, farmers and landowners of all types in all New England states.