In New Jersey, landowners and farmers have the same questions when it comes to making their land available or seeking access to available land. What do I need to think about and consider? How long should the lease be? What provisions should it include? How much should the rental rate be? And what are the motivations and interests of the other party?
The purpose of this guide is to help address these and other questions and to help landowners and farmers begin the process of creating agreements and relationships that work for them. For landowners, making their land available may be important for any number of reasons: farming is the historical use of the land; having it actively farmed qualifies it for Farmland Assessment; providing access to their land can help beginning farmers get started or gain experience; and making the land available for a specific type of agriculture, such as for food production, livestock production, nursery crops, or any other product, fulfills a desire to support that particular aspect of agriculture and their community.
For farmers, finding access to tenure-secure land is important because without land, they cannot farm. In New Jersey, where agricultural land is among the highest priced in the nation, even preserved farmland can be expensive, and many farmers lease all or a portion of the land they farm. Close to 40 percent of the land farmed in New Jersey is farmed by someone who does not own it, which mirrors a national trend. Leasing farmland is also a cost-effective way for beginning farmers to get started and for established farmers to expand or relocate.