If you’re a new or beginning farmer, leasing farmland may be an effective way to overcome one of your biggest challenges to getting on the land. Leases can offer affordable, flexible and secure access to farms, land, and buildings. If you’re a landowner who wants to make land available for farming, leasing land with a well-planned approach can be a “win-win” for you, your land and your community.
This Toolbox contains materials most relevant to farming and farms in New England. It includes practical articles about what’s in a lease, types of leases, what to look for in a lease and how to negotiate a good lease. You’ll also find “thought pieces” that address the interests of the community in long-term farm leases, and landlord-tenant relations.
For farm seekers
- New England Farm Leasing Tutorial
- Nuts and Bolts of Farmland Leasing, a webinar with Land For Good, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Legal Services Food Hub
- Farmland Tenure and Leasing, A Legal Guide to the Business of Farming Chapter 3, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture*
- NEW! Farm Access Methods decision guide stands out in its organized and practical way of addressing and assessing land access methods — including leasing!
- NEW! Farm Access Decision Tool summarizes the methods and likely partners to help you compare methods and make informed decisions
- A Landowners Guide to Leasing Land for Farming
- Leasing Land to Farmers: A Handbook for New England Land Trusts, Municipalities, and Institutions
- Farmland Leasing for Private Landowners: A Short Guide
- The Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leases, Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative, Drake University Agricultural Law Center
- Tax Aspects of Leasing, a Fact Sheet from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension (pdf)
- NEW! Build-A-Lease Tool, learn about and craft a farm lease; includes definitions, FAQs, sample language and fill-in spaces for the most common sections of a farm lease
- NEW! Liability and Insurance in a Farm Lease guide for landowners and tenants
- Elements of a Good Farm Lease, a comprehensive list of important items to consider
- Inspirations for Creating a Long-Term Agricultural Lease for Agroforestry: A Workbook, Farm Commons
- The Land Access and Tenure Toolshed, A clearinghouse from Vermont New Farmer Project, including resources such as “Crafting a Lease Agreement” and “Determining the Right Farm Rental Rate”
- A Lease Agreements Guide for Farmers and Landowners, Vermont Land Link*
- Farm Rental Agreement Checklist, Ohio State University Extension*
- Managing Landlord-Tenant Relationships: A Strategic Perspective, Ohio State University Extension*
- Farm Leases and Rents in Family Farm Series Publications: Farm Management, UC Davis Cooperative Extension*
- AgLease101.org. Resources for Midwestern states, but widely applicable.
Lease Samples and Templates
- Short-term Lease Template
- Short-term Lease Agreement sample
- Multi-year Lease sample
- Long-term Lease on Public Land sample
- Share Lease Agreement sample from AgLease101.org
- Model Agriculture Ground Lease sample from Equity Trust
Farm Link Programs
- New England Farm Link Program Guide explains our region’s farm link programs that help connect farm seekers and farmland owners interested in putting or keeping land in active farming
- Post Your Property! NewEnglandFarmlandFinder.org free posting site for properties for sale or lease to help farm seekers and farm property holders find each other
- New England Farm Link Collaborative builds awareness, readiness and connections among farm seekers, farmers and landowners of all types in all New England states
- How to Create Effective Online Property Postings for Farm Link Websites guide walks you through the typical components of a farm property posting and describes key information most relevant for farmers
Land Tenure in the Northeast
- Holding Ground: A Guide to Northeast Farmland Tenure and Stewardship. Purchase from the New England Small Farm Institute.
- A New Lease on Farmland: Assuring a Future for Farming in the Northeast, New Economics Institute