Rent land via Internet

Farmland owners, especially absentee owners, and farmers seeking to lease land both know that trying to find a good match can be frustrating. After its first year in operation, U.S. Farm Lease, a company based in Ames in central Iowa, has shown how it can help both sides get through the process successfully, says Mark Gannon, president and founder of the firm.

“U.S. Farm Lease is a Web-based forum that is helping both landowners and farm operators,” says Gannon. “Absentee landowners can find tenants that respect the land and can assist with the recordkeeping necessary under USDA’s new ACRE program.”

Farm operators benefit from the service because detailed information about the land offered for rent is easily available to them. “U.S. Farm Lease allows the operator to include a cover letter, references and personal information about their farming practices along with their bid,” says Gannon. “Landowners don’t have to choose the highest offer; they can select an applicant based on a combination of the information provided.”

For the 2009 crop year, Gannon says landowners using this progressive tool saw an average increase of 38% in their cash rents while implementing a solid conservation-minded lease. The financial increase can be important for absentee landowners who may have seen returns drop dramatically from other investments in the past 12 to 15 months, and finding operators interested in conservation can help protect the landowner’s assets for the long term.

Key Points

• A new way to rent farmland, using an online service, has several advantages.

• Landowners can select a renter based on information the applicants provide.

• Service also provides recordkeeping, which is helpful for farm programs, etc.

Landowners want good tenants

“A landowner must be able to get the best operator possible,” says Gannon. “Whether the landowner does a cash- rent or crop-share lease, those operators who can control costs and are good marketers will provide the best immediate return for landowners.”

He adds, “The long-term value of the land can also be enhanced because the landowner can determine which operator will provide accurate and current recordkeeping and implementation of conservation practices.”

A well-written lease takes time and thought to prepare, says Gannon, to take care of both parties as well as the land. All landowners should have conservation written into their leases to protect and enhance their investments.”

Growth seen in rented land

A 2007 study by Iowa State University economist Mike Duffy shows that one-third of farmland rental agreements are not in writing. That can lead to misunderstandings and lost opportunities for both landowners and farm operators.

U.S. Farm Lease has several free examples of lease agreements and termination notices on its Web site at www.USfarm

Landowners have two options of using U.S. Farm Lease. They can register their land online, or they can work with a U.S. Farm Lease preferred professional to assist them in the process. “The online tool has been designed to be easily used by both landowners and tenants who spend little time on the computer,” says Gannon.

Farm operators must register at to bid on farmland leasing opportunities listed on the site. Their registration can include their profile and other reference and background information they feel makes them a better candidate.

For more, contact U.S. Farm Lease at 877-232-4002 or info@
or write to U.S. Farm Lease, 56776 241st St., Suite 200, Ames, IA 50010.

Source: U.S. Farm Lease, ISU

This article published in the January, 2010 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.