Help me to find land for farming!
January 10, 2010 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I am a farmer without a farm... What are my options of leasing some land for agriculture purposes?

I worked on organic farm for two years. Deeply interested in gardening and larger scale organic agriculture. Right now I live in a small apartment without a real land to develop.

I am thinking about trying to find some good agri land to lease an hour from a major city. Go there with an RV/ or just camp it out. I will have other people helping out/ having a stake financially.

I think that a small plot of 5-10 acres will be enough. At first sell small scale at farmers markets and then start a C.S.A.

What websites/resources/books will be helpful?
Is leasing for a 10 year period on a fixed amount common?
Are they any websites that help lease small plots of agri land?

Thank you Mefi folks,
posted by Sentus to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You might keep an eye on this movement.
posted by imjustsaying at 1:53 PM on January 10, 2010

I remember over Christmas we visited my grandparents in South Dakota, and as we were leaving, I saw a sign in the hotel's foyer advertising a plot of agricultural land for sale. Inquiring locally, therefore, may be worthwhile.

This leads me to ask: where are you, and where do you want to be? I see you added a "texas" tag, so I'm guessing Texas, but that still covers a lot of ground.
posted by tellumo at 2:00 PM on January 10, 2010

You might do well to check out some of the links here (search under appropriate state/region). Some of these organizations might have newsletters with classified sections, which might list land for rent. You could also talk to your county extension service.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:19 PM on January 10, 2010

Best answer: This doesn't answer your question directly, but I'm hoping it will be a useful idea.

There are people (I hope to soon become one of them) who buy older farmhouses because they want the isolation, the closeness to nature, and the opportunity to rehab -- not because they have any particular interest in farming. Many of these people are, however, the sort who REALLY appreciate organic food. Some of these people (I will be one of them) would happily give you the use of their land for organic farming in exchange for a share of your crop for their own personal use.

You might drive around in the general area you're interested in farming to see if there's any likely candidate for a deal like that. How you'd know... I have no idea. I guess you could look for the "Mother Jones" magazine in their mailbox. ;-) Barring that, look for a Toyota Prius in the driveway -- or a Subaru of some sort. Subaru drivers tend to be liberal and into "earthy" type stuff.

Good luck! And sorry I can't help you out with my OWN land.... YET!
posted by rhartong at 2:45 PM on January 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: rhartong, I like your idea. :)

And yes, I am from texas.
posted by Sentus at 2:57 PM on January 10, 2010

Some of the farmers in my family used to farm additional land in the area that was mostly least from widows or "retired" farmers that wanted to keep the land in the family but had no immediate use for it. Now that some of them are "retired" they lease some of their land to others. It may be an idea to put up notices in small community town halls or local papers.

Also, I have seen a lot of community gardens in small communities where locals rent seasonal plots. Small towns or cities may have lands that they would lease to you, especially if you would organize one for them.
posted by Yorrick at 3:19 PM on January 10, 2010

seconding ask the county extension agent.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:23 PM on January 10, 2010

Seconding rhartong, and adding that there is a significant tax incentive for agricultural land use, even if the agriculture isn't performed by the owner. Estates with a lot of land might be a good place to look.
posted by charmcityblues at 6:15 PM on January 10, 2010

Agricultural land is commonly leased, it should be no problem to find some- just check the classifieds, put an ad up in feed store type places and ask around. For what you want to do the problem is going to be land with the adjacent infrastructure (water, equipment storage, access etc), with a long enough lease to make it worthwhile setting up a market garden set up (most are year to year) and that the landowner will let you have all these people come work on (this will be a regional thing, of course, but in general farmers don't like a bunch of city people leaving gates open, getting bitten by their horses, killing themselves with tractors etc). They are unlikely to want you living on it either but YMMV on that one.

If Mother Jones has an online forum that's where I'd start myself. Might find some kindred spirits there. Or try a university or college, they often have land to lease out and will do formal leases.
posted by fshgrl at 8:36 PM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My cousins don't farm their land and lease it out to a local farmer. In this situation, I'd say it'd pay to hang around an area of interest and talk to the locals. Someone will know who has land they want to lease.

I owned land in the Ozarks and it could've been farmed. So you could buy a piece of land fairly inexpensively. You may find the land payments are the same as the cost of a lease.

Considering you are in Texas, you are lucky to be in the state with the absolute cheapest land. The price per acre blows my mind. I'm jealous. Those prices are so enticing sometimes I consider moving there. Pretty land, too, in my opinion.

If you ever get some land and decide you want some farm helpers, shoot me a MeMail, I've been thinking about working on a farm.
posted by VC Drake at 10:23 PM on January 10, 2010

If you're interested in buying land, most online real estate listings have a search option for land/farm. If you're near a major metro area, you may be able to find relatively cheap land if it's in an agricultural resource protection area that prevents it from being subdivided or developed.
posted by electroboy at 6:57 AM on January 11, 2010

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