Harvest is here and that means many of your landlords are anxious to hear how the year has gone. They’re also curious because they’re hearing stories in the news and from their friends about the current state of agriculture.
At this time of year it’s important to work on your message about how things are going. For some landlords, that means they’ll want to hop in the combine. For others, it means they’ll appreciate a call or if you stop by with an update. Regardless of how you do it, consider not only giving them an update but taking it as an educational opportunity.
First, you can’t assume you know what they’re thinking or their current understanding. Get a better understanding of their perspective through some questions like “what are you hearing about farming?” or “what are your thoughts about how things are going in agriculture?” Most of all, you want to know where they stand and what perspectives or fears they have.
Farms are making changes across their operations, but a landlord’s fear may be that the only change their tenant wants to make is for the rent to be lowered. Be proactive in sharing the work that you are doing everywhere on your farm before any review of rent costs. This can give them more confidence that they aren’t the only cost being addressed.
Build the relationship
Educating your landlord about the current realities of crop farming and working to build and maintain a strong relationship with them should be an ongoing priority. The quality of these conversations with your landlord and the understanding you can build depends a lot on the quality of your relationship.
Some landlords may simply assume another farmer will immediately step in and pay the same rent – or they may have a fear of missing out, thinking that if they lower rent now, they may never get to raise it again.
Other landlords, as you know, are more reasonable and recognize the realities of farming. When you’ve built a strong relationship with them and they see the benefit of a long-term, win-win relationship, that’s the best possible scenario.
Next week, I’ll be sharing some more tips and ways you can approach upcoming conversations with landlords.
Read the Smart Series publication, bringing business ideas for today’s farm leader. This issue features the story of a farm family who is working on a legacy plan to keep the farm in the family while maintaining family harmony, and how to work toward increasing your operation’s efficiency. Get your free online issue here.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.