Identifying the key people and establishing mutual understanding and appropriate expectations at the outset helps establish healthy relationships, which can lead to a more fulfilling and successful lease arrangement.
Cultivating a healthy relationship with the landowner is a key step for a successful lease arrangement. This Section will guide you in exploring what matters most to you in that relationship, including an inquiry into vision, values, and communication qualities.
From here, we'll divide into two tracks:
As you do not yet have a property in mind, you will need to use your creativity to imagine an "ideal" landowner. This process can help you discern what matters most to you in a relationship with the landowner, including goals, values, and communication qualities. By taking the time now to consider these aspects, you'll be in a better position to determine whether or not to act on an opportunity to lease land when it arises. And, you'll be in a better position to establish parameters and conditions for the relationship.
To begin, take a moment to reflect upon and answer the following questions about your and the "ideal landowner's" goals and vision for the lease arrangement and the land.
According to the Non-violent Communication (NVC) approach, doing a “needs” inventory at the outset can help you and the landowner cultivate mutual understanding and healthy communication throughout the lease relationship. A needs inventory consists of reflecting upon and naming your underlying needs or values.
What are your ultimate needs here for entering a long-term lease? Another way of asking this is: What are the values underlying your goals for leasing land?
Take a look at the Center for Non Violent Communication's “Needs Inventory List" below. What stands out as most relevant to you when entering an agricultural lease arrangement?
The following is a partial list of “needs” that the Center for Nonviolent Communication has provided to deepen self-discovery and facilitate greater understanding and connection between people. Another way of thinking about needs is asking: What do I value most in this scenario or relationship? Refer to this list as you reflect on your underlying needs or values for your agricultural lease arrangement.
Communication is the heart of a healthy relationship. As you lay the groundwork for your relationship with the landowner, it can be helpful to reflect on the communication qualities or characteristics that you appreciate along with those you most fear in another.
Hostile or undesirable power dynamics can cause tension and conflict throughout the lease arrangement. Under what circumstances do you want to have complete decision-making power or control? When is it okay for the landlowner to weigh in or decide entirely?
Imagine the following scenarios. Next to each check how strongly you feel that you retain complete decision-making authority.
You might think of your agricultural lease as granting you the exclusive right to use the property you are leasing, or that you–and only you–can now use that land in any way you want, as long as the landowner agrees. But, often, there are a lot of other people or institutions that will have access and/or power over the property you’ve leased.
Review the ‘Circle of Ownership’ below and note what other people or institutions could take a portion of the ownership rights of the land you are leasing.
Imagine your ideal situation in relation to all these people who might have a stake in the land you rent one day. For the following people, take note of when they would, ideally, be allowed to share, use, or access the land.
For example, it could be “only if I am given 24 hours notice” or "only if their access is limited to a specific designated area or time."
Here are some additional scenarios that are helpful to consider at the outset. For each, jot down what would be ideal for you in the space provided. You might begin with the statement: "Ideally the lease would allow me to…" and then fill in the blank.
A highly effective way to get clarity around the issues we've highlighted here is to have an honest conversation with the landowner upfront. While such honest conversations can be hard, they can be the pathway to deeper understanding and connection. It can be helpful to prepare questions to ask the landowner in advance.
Here’s space for you to write questions you have for the landowner, and brainstorm some ideas to address any issues you’ve pinpointed.
You've already identified a property to lease and likely at least know who the landowner is. For the following exercises, step in the shoes of your landowner. Based on what you know about them, what do you assume their goals and ultimate vision for the land are?
This process can help you discern what matters most to you in a relationship with the landowner, including goals, values, and communication styles. By taking the time now to consider these aspects, you'll be in a better position to establish parameters and conditions for the relationship.
To begin, take a moment to reflect upon and answer the following questions about your and the the landowner's goals and vision for the lease arrangement and the land.
Hostile or undesirable power dynamics can cause tension and conflict throughout the lease arrangement. Under what circumstances do you want to have complete decision-making power or control? When is it okay for the landowner to weigh in or decide entirely?
The following is a list of people who could potentially have access to the land during the lease term. Based on the information you have, check which applies to the land you're interested in leasing