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Finding the Right Land for Your Agriculture Business

CEO Khai Intela
UDSA Photo by Preston Keres Are you ready to build a successful agriculture business? The first step is finding the right land. But where do you start? Don't worry, we've got you covered. In this...

Image UDSA Photo by Preston Keres

Are you ready to build a successful agriculture business? The first step is finding the right land. But where do you start? Don't worry, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll provide you with the resources and guidance you need to kickstart your search and make informed decisions.

Assess Your Readiness

Before diving into your land search, it's essential to assess your readiness. Take a moment to clarify your goals and evaluate your financial position. When setting goals, remember to make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, and Timely.

Personal Goals

Consider where you see yourself in the future. What do you want your life to look like? It's important to include family goals, household income goals, and work-life balance in your personal goals.

Business Goals

Think about the kind of farm or ranch you want to have. Do you aim to grow and expand your business or prefer to stay small? Understand the market for your products and determine how much income you need.

Make sure your business goals align with your personal goals. Are there any inconsistencies? Address any differences you find to ensure harmony.

To get started, utilize the following worksheets to assess your current position, identify your aspirations, and evaluate your available resources:

  • Acquiring Land to Farm: Where Do I Start? Worksheet
  • Personal and Business Goals Worksheet
  • Land Tenure Readiness Self-Assessment Worksheet
  • Goal Setting Worksheet

Think About Your Financial Position

Understanding your financial position is crucial from the start. It will influence your decision to rent, buy, or finance your land. Take into account the following financial considerations:

Current Financial Position

Evaluate what you currently own and owe. Determine your income and expenses. This information will help you make informed decisions about your land acquisition strategy.

Future Earning Potential

Consider the income your business will generate. Do you require off-farm income to support it? Assess whether your business can repay a loan.

To gain a deeper understanding of your financial position, gather essential documents such as bank statements, tax returns, credit card or loan statements, and credit reports.

If you're just starting out and don't have all this information, don't worry. Here are a few steps you can take to get started:

  • Open a bank account, even a small one.
  • File federal and state income taxes, if applicable.
  • Get a credit card to establish a track record of paying bills on time and managing credit effectively.
  • If possible, establish a retirement account, such as an IRA, to secure your financial future.

Image UDSA Photo by Preston Keres

To further assist you in preparing your finances, refer to the following resources:

  • Sample Bank Statement
  • Financial Documents Checklist
  • Land Tenure Readiness Self-Assessment Worksheet
  • Sample Balance Sheet

Explore Land Access Options

Land tenure refers to how people hold their land. There are two main forms of land tenure: leasing and owning. As a beginner, you have three paths to access land: buying, leasing, or inheriting/accepting gifts of land.

Leasing is a popular option for beginners, allowing you to use someone else's land for a specified period in exchange for payment. Cash leases and share agreements are two common types of leases. Learn more about leasing on the Prepare to Lease page.

If you have enough net worth, buying land is another option. When you purchase land, you obtain full ownership rights and responsibilities. Explore different ways to own or hold land, such as fee title purchase or purchasing land protected by a conservation easement. Discover more about purchasing on the Prepare to Buy Land page.

Some beginners inherit or receive land as gifts, often along with a farm or ranch operation. Stay tuned for more information on inheritance.

In many cases, beginners choose a combination of these options to sustain their operations. After assessing your financial position, select a path that aligns with your goals, aspirations, and financial capabilities. Consider all your options and keep your personal and business goals at the forefront of your decision-making process.

Utilize our Land Requirements Worksheet to guide your work. Your final decision will likely be influenced by affordability, equity-building potential, and the level of security you seek.

To gain deeper insights into land tenure options, consult the following resources:

  • Land Tenure Options Information Sheet
  • Land Access Options Comparison Chart

Connect with Ag Service Providers

Finding land can be a time-consuming and challenging process, especially for beginning producers. Luckily, there are various support networks throughout the country ready to assist you.

If you have a specific location in mind, reach out to service providers in that region. Share your land requirements and let them know what you're looking for. Sometimes, word of mouth is a powerful tool for finding land.

If you haven't decided on a location yet, explore the resources below to discover regions with abundant support for agriculture. Don't hesitate to contact the Farmland Information Center for expert advice.

Check out these resources to connect with service providers and gather valuable information:

  • Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers

Connect with:

  • Farm Link Programs
  • Farmland Protection Directory
  • Farm Incubator and Apprenticeship Training Projects
  • Land Grant Universities and Extension Offices
  • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
  • Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust- Land Network Program
  • US Department of Agriculture Office location
  • Farmland Information Center

With these resources and networks, you'll be one step closer to finding the perfect land for your agriculture business.

Remember, finding the right land is a crucial element of building a successful agriculture business. Use the insights and tools provided in this article to make informed decisions and pave the way for a prosperous future. Happy land hunting!

Note: This article was created following the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) guidelines to ensure reliable information and a great user experience.