What are landowners looking for?
Landowners come in many shapes and sizes, figuratively speaking. As you look at the diversity of this group, they cannot be lumped into one or even two categories. Their demographics are many and their thoughts of how their land should be utilized is also diverse.
I spoke to a landowner this week who lives out of state but has family land in western Oregon. He shared with me his background, which included being raised in town and having little farming knowledge. But his appreciation for the history of the farm and value, both in sentiment as well as monetary, prevent him and his family from selling it. At the same time being a forward-thinker and a student of business. He also realizes that simply renting it for a grower to raise corn and soybeans on is not the long-term business plan they would like to pursue.
Landowners are looking for more.
This landowner would like to work with someone who is a beginning farmer or an established farmer. But is someone who has a value-added business plan to bring to the table. He said, and I tend to agree, “For many small farmers, a value-added business plan will be a way for many to grow beyond where they are now even in the midst of their much larger competition.” So what does a value-added business plan look like in farming today?
For this individual, they are looking at someone who will focus on sustainable practices when it comes to soil nutrient management. Now, I know that the word sustainable can be a relative term and can take on as many meanings as there are landowners.
As you are thinking through and building your plan, be specific on what this looks like for you. The more specific the details of your plan, the more you will have the support of the landowner to move forward. Keep in mind, in many of these value-added plans, this is not a short-term enterprise. This is a long-term relationship.
What types of crops are you going to grow?
Specialty crops such as grapes, berries, produce, mint, hops, to name just a few, can all be value-added options. For others, perenni