The SADC in collaboration with NOFA-NJ recently worked on a project to support beginning farmers in New Jersey. The SADC's role in the project involved enhancing leasing and linking resources for landowners and farmers, including:

  1. Developing a leasing guidebook (and lease planning worksheets) 
  2. Holding informational leasing meetings for landowners
  3. Developing and holding educational courses for landowners
  4. Enhancing online linking capacities

This project was supported by funds from the USDA Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program (NIFA #2011-49400-30739) and applies to all farms, traditional and organic. The project was conducted from 2011-2014.

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1. Farmland Leasing Guidebook

When it comes to leasing, landowners and farmers often have the same questions:

  • What do I need to consider (when making my land available/seeking access to land)?
  • How long should the lease term be?
  • What provisions should it include?
  • How much should the rental rate be?
  • What are the motivations and interests of the other party?

The SADC in collaboration with NOFA-NJ has published a new guidebook, "Leasing Farmland in New Jersey: A Guide for Landowners and Farmers," to help answer these questions and to assist landowners and farmers in creating leasing agreements and relationships that work for them. With information gathered from our conversations with New Jersey landowners and farmers, and from research of other states’ leasing guides, the guidebook includes sections on getting started, creating and maintaining your lease, sample leases, leasing profiles, and additional resources. The guidebook’s target audiences per the grant are beginning farmers and landowners, but the published guide is useful to all farmers. 

To request a printed copy, please contact the SADC at sadc@ag.state.nj.us, and we will send you a copy in the mail.

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Leasing Planning Worksheets

The SADC in collaboration with NOFA-NJ also developed two leasing worksheets as companions to the "Leasing Farmland in New Jersey" guidebook. The worksheets are designed to help landowners and farmers clarify their goals and needs, evaluate potential opportunities, and plan for a lease.

To request printed copies, please contact the SADC at sadc@ag.state.nj.us.

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2. Informational Leasing Meetings for Landowners and Farmers

Each year during the three-year project, the SADC and NOFA-NJ held three regional informational and networking meetings for landowners and farmers.

2012 meetings
The meetings focused on discussing leasing resources, experiences, and opportunities. They were also designed to introduce landowners to the project and get their feedback to help shape the development of the leasing guide. For more information, see the general announcement for the 2012 meetings.

2013 meetings
The meetings focused again on leasing resources, experiences, and opportunities. They were designed to help introduce landowners to the basics about leasing and making their land available for farming, and to provide farmers with an opportunity to meet potential lease partners. The goals were for landowners and farmers to:

  • Learn about leasing strategies, considerations, and opportunities
  • Hear from farmer speakers on their leasing experiences and recommendations
  • Network with and hear from other landowners

For more information, see the outreach flier for the 2013 meetings.

2014 meetings
The meetings provided an overview of land leasing resources followed by a networking opportunity for farmland owners and farmers seeking access to land. As with the prior meetings, l
andowners and farmers looking to connect regarding leasing opportunities were invited to attend.

  • Networking session at the NOFA-NJ Winter Conference (January 2014)
  • Networking session as part of a Farm Site-Evaluation workshop (March 2014)
  • Networking session for landowners and farmers at Rutgers (July 2014)

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3. Educational courses for landowners

The SADC developed and offered two leasing-related educational courses for landowners. Farmers were also invited to attend the courses, which were offered in collaboration with NOFA-NJ. 

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4. Enhancing Online Linking Capacities

The SADC and NOFA-NJ collaborated on the development of a new and improved linking website, NJ Land Link: www.njlandlink.org. The Rutgers Office of Research Analytics also collaborated by designing the attractive, easy-to-use site.

  • Looking for land to farm?
  • Have land available and looking for a farmer?

You can search the listings at the new site (lease, sale, partnership, farm manager, apprenticeship and other opportunities) using a host of criteria, and you can create a listing for yourself. Check out the new site at www.njlandlink.org.

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