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CERTIFIED FARM SEEKER PROGRAM - LAND ACQUISITION AND TENURE

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Land Acquisition and Tenure

Land Acquisition and Tenure - The Land Acquisition and Tenure module contains different options to allow for maximum customization. The “General” portion is recommended for all farmers. The options are “Leasing”, “Farm Succession for Transitioning Farmers”, and “Hybrid”. Each option contains a brief description in order for each farmer to determine where he or she best fits.

Click here for module worksheets.

Land Acquisition and Tenure

Objectives:
→Explore the range of options under ownership and non-ownership tenure for new farmers.
→Evaluate options to determine the best fit for an individual scenario.
→Understand the relationship between tenure options and sustaining agriculture.

Questions to Answer:
→How do you acquire good farmland?
→What zoning regulations will you be faced with?
→What kinds of professionals should you consider to help you purchase or lease land?
→If you own land as farm or forest, do you and your family wish to keep it?
→If transferring farmland is a goal, how will you be able to do so?
→Are there federal, state, or local taxes, or other expenses related to land acquisition, ownership, and transfer that should concern you?
→What kinds of leasing arrangements exist?
→Who is involved in these arrangements?
→Are landlord-tenant relationships feasible for you?
→What other alternatives are there to farmland ownership?
→What land improvements may need to be made?

Overview of Assignments:
→Undergo an introduction to Farm Link.
→Create a statement that describes land tenure needs. 
→List pros and cons of each ownership and non-ownership option.
→Visit with county planning department. 
→Research land improvement incentives. 

Option 1: Farm Succession for Transitioning Farmers

~Designed for farmers who have access to an established farm that will undergo a transition within the next 20 years and whose whole farm plan does not include leasing~

Objectives:
→Gain a broader understanding of farm succession issues.
→Examine elements and stages of succession planning.
→Explore what makes a successful farm transfer.
→Explore the role of entrants in farm succession. 

Questions to Answer:
→What do farm families need to consider when transferring the farm?
→Compare and contrast transferring to a family member versus a transfer to a non-family member.
→How do different entrant stages/tenure arrangements affect the long-term and succession goals of the farm?
→What are challenges and opportunities raised when discussing succession planning 5-15 years before the current operator retires or stops farming?
→Discuss some advantages and disadvantages to the successor leaving the farm for a period of time before taking over.
→If you are leasing or renting, what should you know and understand about your landlord’s estate/succession plan and why?
→How can you make your environmental/conservation goals known and followed in a succession plan?

Overview of Assignments:
Develop a farm entrant “career pathway plan: steps from education to internship, early jobs, share or lease agreement to purchase.
→Talk to family members about their succession plans or experiences.
→Complete “Planning the Future of Your Farm” Workbook.

Option 2: Leasing

~Designed for farmers whose primary source of land will come from leasing~

Objectives:
→Gain an understanding of the importance of leasing.
→Determine the reasons for using farm leases.
→Understand and differentiate between different types of leases.
→Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of different types of leases.
→Interpret and explain key questions related to leasing decisions. 
→Learn the importance of good communication between tenants and landowners.
→Understand different approaches to maintaining strong communication lines.
→Learn how to use negotiation skills between tenant and landlord when developing lease agreements and relationships. 

Questions to Answer:
→Why is a written lease agreement important to both parties?
→What basic information is necessary for developing an effective farm lease?
→What factors are important to the farmer/tenant and the landowner in the lease agreement?
→What are the benefits of share leases for tenants and landowners?  Why are share leases not more commonly used?
→What are some alternative lease agreements that may provide additional options for both landlords and tenants?

Overview of Assignments:
Identify key components of a lease agreement.
→Develop  a list of techniques that could be used to improve the communication between landlord and tenant.
→Develop a checklist for evaluating a leasing relationship. 

Option 3: Hybrid

~Designed for farmers whose whole farm plan contains both transitioning an established farm and leasing and/or buying land~

Objectives:
→Explore the ways in which leasing, buying, and farm succession methods can be used together. 
→Examine elements and stages of succession planning.
→Explore what makes a successful farm transfer, including purchasing.
→Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of different types of leases. 
→Understand different approaches to maintaining strong communication lines between tenants and landowners.
→Learn how to use negotiation skills between tenant and landlord and between buyer and seller when developing lease and sale agreements and relationships. 

Questions to Answer:
What percentage of the farming operation will be leased or purchased?
→What percentage, if any, of the farming operation will be derived from a farm transfer?
→ What do farm families need to consider when transferring the farm?
→Compare and contrast transferring to a family member versus a transfer to a non-family member. 
→If you are leasing or renting, what should you know and understand about your landlord’s estate/succession plan and why?
→What basic information is necessary for developing an effective farm lease?
→What are some alternative lease agreements that may provide additional options for both landlords and tenants?

Overview of Assignments:
→Develop a farm entrant “career pathway” plan-steps from education to internship, early jobs, share or lease agreement to purchase.
→Complete “Planning the Future of Your Farm” Workbook
→Develop a list of techniques that could be used to improve the communication between landlord and tenant.

For more information, please contact:

Andy Sorrell
VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation
804.786.1906
Andrew.Sorrell@vdacs.virginia.gov

Ron Saacke
Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers
804.514.4202
ron.saacke@vafb.com

Certified Farm Seeker Program Coordinator
804.290.1030
certifiedfarmseekers@gmail.com
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