Posted by: TerraSaver | July 28, 2016


zeldaandpiglets_608x422Over the last 5 to 6 years we have seen a dramatic increase in inquiries for small farm property where prospects want to participate in organic and sustainable farming and ranching.  A significant amount of these inquiries come from people who don’t currently have the ability to purchase agricultural property but do have experience with crops, livestock rearing and sales.

CR_AG_Cows_9.19.08At the same time – many owners of agricultural property, particularly larger farms and ranches, have small plots that are not being used because it is uneconomical for them to engage in small scale farming or ranching due to lack of staff and inability to train people in animal husbandry or raising crops.  The landowner also may not have any expertise in these areas.  Additionally, many crops and types of livestock can take an extended period to mature and be able to generate an income.  There is also the challenge of marketing and distributing the end product.

In addition to land, there is usually a need for specific facilities and infrastructure – pens, corrals, green houses, water lines.  Then there is initial planting, fencing, repairs to old structures and on-going maintenance including weeding and pruning for plants and inoculations and daily monitoring of livestock.

Chicken_153x115Occasionally a match can be made between a landowner and a prospective farmer or rancher as part of a joint venture.  The land owner provides the land under a lease arrangement and the partner provides an agricultural operation of some type on unused or underused portions of the property. Frequently this can involve existing outbuildings, sheds, and fenced fields and pastures,
LETTUCE_170x127A person experienced in ranching or farming should be able to prepare a small business plan which would allow a landowner to get an answer to a logical question ‘what is in it for me’.  Sometimes the answer to that question is not an initial cash return because small scale startups seldom can generate significant amounts of cash for a period of time.  There are however circumstances when a landowner will delay receiving his ‘share’ of the income for a reasonable period of time.

FM_Artichokes_180x135Farmers and ranchers are sometimes interested in alternative types of agriculture which they have never had time to explore and will allow time for a new operation to develop. If the joint venture partner is improving the property that may provide additional incentive for the landowner. The landowner may also be interested in participating in creating a ‘brand’ for his property that encompasses his own agricultural production and a product the new partner brings to the table.  The business plan presented to the landowner should include details not only on the projected income and costs of operation, but also on the marketing plan for what is produced even if the product won’t be available for a period of time.  The goal is for the landowner to have confidence that the joint venture partner really understands the business he is proposing.

A different way of approaching getting into the business of ranching and farming. If you need assistance please contact: Erik at

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