If you’re a landowner, you can make your land an even greater asset to your community by helping to ensure a future for farming. By getting more farmers on the land you’ll create economic opportunity, promote food security, and preserve the working landscapes that you value. Connecticut’s diverse and growing agriculture industry currently has a $3.5 billion impact on the state’s economy with over 20,000 jobs.1
According to the Census of Agriculture, 38% of farmers in Connecticut rely, in part or entirely, on leased farmland. And more than half of young farmers (34 and younger) lease the land they farm. Leasing property is defined as renting it under a contract that gives the tenant or lessee use and possession of the property for a specific time, with specified payments and a specified payment schedule. Farmers are looking for land to lease.
On Monday, March 13th Land For Good and the Town of Stonington are hosting a Landowner Workshop at LaGrua in Stonington, CT from 7:00 – 8:30pm. Whether you are a private owner, land trust, municipality, or anyone else that supports and values local farmers this informative workshop is for you. Come prepared to learn about the in’s and out’s of leasing land to farmers, resources on where to find farmers, the basics on crafting a lease, and first hand testimonials from local farms and farmers about their experience with local farmers.
This FREE event is open to all interested including land seeking farmers, farmers looking to expand their current land base, and anyone else committed to securing tenure for our local farmers. Refreshments will be served, opportunities to connect with local officials, landowners, and service providers, along with valuable handouts to help landowners on this journey. Come and join us and support the work and efforts to make a more secure food system in Connecticut.
There are many reasons to choose to lease land to a farmer. From Farmland ConneCTions, A Guide for Connecticut Towns, Institutions and Land Trusts Using or Leasing Farmland:
Financial – A lease agreement can provide an important source of cash to reduce the carrying costs of owning land, such as insurance, maintenance and, in some cases, property taxes. A lease can be structured to provide compensation through a share of farm products produced or a percent of cash receipts generated from the sale of those products. A lease can also be structured to provide compensation in the form of services that an entity might otherwise need to pay for, such as fence maintenance, mowing and field improvements, invasive species control, snowplowing and/or brush clearing.
Economic Growth – Leasing farmland can be good for the local economy, fostering new and expanding agricultural enterprises that provide jobs and additional economic return to a community. Some of Connecticut’s large vegetable farmers, for example, who generate a significant amount of economic activity through farm stands and wholesale operations, rely on leased parcels to increase their production of certain crops with high acreage needs, such as pumpkins and sweet corn. Dairy farms, which likewise are local economic engines, use leased land for a significant portion of their hay, corn and pasture needs. Lease agreements for pasture are important to the growing number of Connecticut producers of beef, goat and lamb. And leased land is often how Community Supported Agriculture farms (CSAs) get their start; these farms tend to employ at least one or two full-time farmers, plus additional seasonal help, to produce vegetables and herbs for local consumers.
Quality of Life – For a municipality, institution or land trust, making land available for farming offers many pathways to connect with town residents or a membership base. A community- or land trust-owned farm might provide opportunities for adults and children to garden and to learn about agriculture and food production. It might also offer a way to provide healthy foods to local schools and to food banks and pantries. Leasing land to a farmer for agritourism ventures like pick-your-own pumpkins or corn mazes can not only generate revenue but provide fun recreational opportunities. A hayfield or pasture can offer valuable scenic vistas that attract tourists and recreational enthusiasts (e.g., cyclists, hikers). Hay and pasture leases are also important to Connecticut’s large horseback riding community. In addition, many important historical resources, such as buildings, cemeteries, stone walls and Native American sites, are on or near agricultural landscapes. Because working landscapes and access to local foods add to local quality of life, they also attract non-agriculture businesses that value these attributes for their employees.
Learn more at our Landowner Workshop. Register now!
1 Economic Impacts of Connecticut’s Agricultural Industry, University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, September 2010