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Veteran Advisor

How to choose a renter?

Fanney p asked about a fair price for rent I am coming to the stage of my life that I may decide to rent some or all of my land in the next few years.

How would you suggest a person approach the decision of just who you want to rent to?

I have been approached over the last couple years by several people who asked to be considered when/if I decide to rent.

All these individuals except 1 have sons who are just out of school or recently out and are wanting to farm with father.

All of these individuals I know and respect, will be tough to choose one over another and especially not leave some bad feelings.

There is still another very good farmer who lives just 1 km up the road who would probably be interested when he knows I am willing to rent.


Now we have several properties but not enough to allow each to have one so there will have to be a decision made at some time to rent to one or more but leave others out.

At present the incentive is to keep climbing on the tractor myself then I do not have to pick one over another.


Anyone got suggestions of how to approach the decision when it has to be made?

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12 Replies

Re: How to choose a renter?

As long as the renter is honest and has integrity, and the terms are fair and profitable for both parties how can you go wrong?  No matter what ya do somebody is gonna get their feelings hurt.  Take the "other" guys out for lunch or something.  Smiley Happy

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Veteran Advisor

Re: How to choose a renter?

Thanks JAS now how to choose which one of those 'honest' guys gets it?

Thinking maybe the only way might be to put it out to tender and state 'price per hectare' is not the only consideration and see what they might offer.


Might slowly cut back so can put one property up and see how it goes before I do another but of course health will always play a factor.

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Senior Contributor

Re: How to choose a renter?

I looked online and didn't find much on how to select a tenant.  There is probably something out there if I knew where to look.


Here are a few things I'd consider.  Keep in mind that your personality and objectives will shape your choices:


1.  Is the renter a good communicator.  Not someone with a gift of gab, but someone who can clearly make you understand what s/he is trying to communicate?

2.  Does the tenant have a good reputation over a course of years?  If young, this will have to be adjusted.

3.  Has the tenant demonstrated the managment skills to handle the new, larger operation?

4.  Has the tenant demonstrated satisfactory leasing with others?

5.  Does the tenant have the financial capabilty of operating your farm as you wish?

6.  Does the tneant have the machinery to operate as you wish, in a timely manner and without damaging the farm?

7.  Does the tenant have the capacity to expand and handle your farm (not stretched out or need to upgrade if he gets your farm)?

8.  Is the tenant's domestic and personal life stabile or not likely to interfere with the farm operation?

9.   What would happen if the tenant would become incapacitated for some reason?  Could he cope?

10.  Does the tenant have good business relations, such that he is partnering with or getting synergy from working with others (not a loner who won't/can't work with others).


Just s few ideas.  I bet you get many others that are better.


Here is one of the very few papers I've found on this topic.  It may help a little, but not as much as you'd like.   You may want to skip to about page 10 and read from there on.


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Veteran Advisor

Re: How to choose a renter?

Canuck the first question should be what are your goals for your land?  How do you want it cared for?  Do you want some one to farm it the way you farmed it or do you want osmeone who is a cookie cutter farmer?  THe big question is when you get up in the morning and look out at the crop that some one else is growing on your land how will you percieve it?   Will you want someone to check it like you would?  Do you want them to spray the a;ll the weeds or do you want them to stay away from your grove of christmas trees even if it means sacrificing a few rows of crop?  Do you want to see the guy plant his own fields or do you want to be able to connect with him by social network?  In the end if you got to get up and look at the crop every day select someone who will care for it like you did.  If it will not bother you how the crop looks well go for the money.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Just pick the one

that sucks up to you the most.


Don't rent to someone with an attitude.


Don't rent to any body. Hire a custom farmer.


Really there are alot of good farmers and good guyts out there. You don't have to rent to someone with a bad attitude or someone that does not appreciate the opportunity. Sort them out. Pick one that is financially solid, a good farmer, and someone you like. It won't hurt to give him a break if you like him.


If he is a sorehead, a complainer, a guy that thinks you owe him something, just eliminate him from the list.

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Veteran Advisor

Jim, JR & Kraft-t

Thanks and JAS too.

Read through all your thoughts and probably what has been giving me the most trouble as I think about where the future and my farming will go is trying to select one or more from those who have indicated they are interested.

Really all those who have talked to me could fill the bill.

I know all of them well enough that I think I would be satisfied with any of them.

Probably could knock one off the list because not sure I will always be happy with the way he might treat my land but he is probably the one that is the hardest to turn down for a lot of personal reasons.

I do not want to rent just for the dollar, have decided that.

Would like to get as much as I can but want the land to be "farmed" correctly with the future in mind. Probably when it comes down to the final decision it will swing around who can offer the best 'deal' with me still involved at least in some decisions.

Have already started hiring more work done and expect that will continue as my machinery wears out or I wear out.

I will also probably still keep my 'finger' in the business as long as I am able, moving to share cropping rather than just cash rent.


Think I will just keep procrastinating about changing much until later and maybe some of my choices will be made for me.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Jim, JR & Kraft-t

Canuck  don't know your business, but are you in a position to help a young guy get started in the business of farming?  Instead of your operation getting swallowed up by an exixting farmer.  Maybe you could bring someone in and train them?  Like I said, I donm't know your situation,.  It may be too much effort, or maybe not enough $$$ involved for the transition.  Just asking.  Best to you in your decision.  

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Veteran Advisor

Re: How to choose a renter?

Hi Canuck,


I think that splitting it up has some attractions- not that you can make everyone happy.


While I'm all for supporting the sons who want to come back and farm, I don't really want to be responsible for keeping them in business. If the added acreage is part of helping their future, fine, but it doesn't put you in a position where you have to lay awake at night if your desires change.


best, h

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Re: How to choose a renter?

   I can understand the hurt feelings thing.  You say money isn't your main objective but it may be the easiest way out for you and not have hurt feelings.  My suggestion is to have a rent auction.   That way all interested parties are there and everything is on the table

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