What is your Farming Philosophy?
“What is your farming philosophy?” In most circles this seems like an odd question. It is not one that will make the national news or be asked by host Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. It is a question I think most people don’t give any thought to ask, even as a landowner.
This past week I was fortunate to sit down with a couple of landowners in southern Indiana. This is not a normal occurrence, mostly because the distance from many landowners I talk with just doesn’t allow it. But this day I sat down with two brothers and one of the first questions one asked me was, “what is your farming philosophy?”
Why this question? What would these two brothers gain from this question? Personally, I was excited to answer it. And I did.
What is the landowner looking for?
From this question, I also knew what they were looking for. What they were asking was how I would grow a crop and could I do it in a way that that would build and improve the soil. Would I leave the land better than I found it? What practices would I use to make the land more productive and promote a healthier soil environment? Would I use their land for my gain or is there room for a partnership that both would be able to benefit from?
When this landowner asked me this question, he told me that cash rent price is not the number one concern for him. What he is concerned with is stewardship, communication, soil health and productivity. He is concerned with the qualities that will improve their land’s value long term. The short-term gain like a cash rent check is way down the list.
What is YOUR farming philosophy?
So as a landowner, what is your farming philosophy? Have you asked your current tenant this question, just to see what their response is? How well does their response match your ideals? If you haven’t, you should. It may lead to some productive discussion. It also may even lead you to the reality that you may not be working with the right farmer.
As the farmer, are you prepared to answer this challenging question when it arises? I guarantee the farmers who I will set up to talk with this landowner will be asked this question. So if you are reading this, you have been warned. And if any landlord does not ask you a question like this, they are probably just looking for the short term gain.
For two years, I have been saying that landlords are not just looking for the highest cash rent. Thank you to this landowner for asking me this question, and proving my point. So what is your farming philosophy?