Soil Stewardship-The foundation of every farmland lease

The lease starts with soil quality.farmland

When it comes to farmland rental agreements, there are many things to consider. The soil is a common topic of conversation and something that every farmer and landowner discuss in their negotiations. Normally the discussion is centered around maintaining a certain nutrient level of P and K, establishing a base line of pH, or determining whether the tenant will apply fertilizer on a somewhat routine basis. This is a good start but should not be the end of discussion when it comes to promoting a future of improved productivity.

As the tenant or future tenant, the farmer can and should be in an important leadership role when it comes to helping the landowner understand the importance of thinking beyond what he or she has always done. It is important to help you the landowner, understand that soil quality is much more than just maintaining a certain level of phosphorus and potassium on a soil test.

What is fertility?

Webster defines fertility as “the ability to produce yield.” Soil quality encompasses the balance of not just chemical, but of physical and biological properties. This balance has a huge effect on the environment that biology in the soil functions in. It plays a huge role in both the current and future nutrient release. It also has an effect on how air and water move through the soil. No to mention what rooting environment a grower can give the plant to grow in.

Balanced soils will help to improve residue breakdown, facilitate nutrient cycling, and reduce the impact of extreme weather conditions. These improvements to your farmland do not happen overnight and will take some time to see the full benefits of managing the soils differently. The tenant should be helping to bring leadership to you and what farmland improvements are being made.  It means the grower is delivering more than just a rent check to their landowner. They are delivering a plan to improve the productivity of landowners’ soils.

Who is renting your farmland?

Your tenant should be bringing you value beyond the rent check you get each year. But for many landowners, that is all they are looking for. If I were you, I would expect the checks to get smaller as the years go by. Because these lease checks are tied to the productivity of the farm.

You deserve more. You deserve to be working with a farmer who can improve your investment for the long-term. This investment in farmland affects your kids and grand kids. What are your goals and how will you get there? These questions and many more are in the hands of the farmer leasing you land. Are you working with the right tenant or can you do better? Bird Dog is here to help you get the most out of your farmland, just by working with the right farmer. Let’s get started!

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