Creating tenure agreements

The following resources may help when creating tenure agreements between farmers and farm owners.

Leasing Farmland in New Jersey: A Guide for Landowners and Farmers -
This guidebook is designed to help answer the questions that landowners and farmers may have when considering leasing. How long should the lease term be? What provisions should it include? How much should the rental rate be? What are the motivations and interests of the other party? With information gathered from conversations with New Jersey landowners and farmers, and from research of other states’ leasing guides, "Leasing Farmland in New Jersey" includes sections on getting started, creating and maintaining your lease, sample leases, leasing profiles, and additional resources. To request a printed copy of the guidebook, contact the SADC at or (609) 984-2504, and we'll send you copy.

Leasing Worksheet - Planning for a Lease - The SADC in collaboration with NOFA-NJ developed two leasing worksheets as companions to the "Leasing Farmland in New Jersey" guidebook. The worksheets are designed to help landowners and farmers clarify their goals and needs, evaluate potential opportunities, and plan for a lease.

To request a printed copy of a worksheet, contact the SADC at or (609) 984-2504.

A Lease Agreement Guide for Landowners and Farmers - A concise guide that presents landowners and farmers with the basic elements to consider when discussing or structuring a lease agreement - Available online through the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Holding Ground: A Guide to Northeast Farmland Tenure and Stewardship - A publication that addresses farmland access, transfer, affordability, and stewardship issues. "Holding Ground" examines leases and other tenure arrangements, and it contains sample lease provisions with explanations, sample stewardship standards, worksheets, and case studies. Specific sections include: Principles and challenges of farmland tenure; Short-term leases; Long-term leases and other non-traditional tenure models; Paths to ownership; Farmland stewardship; and Negotiating, monitoring and enforcing agreements.

Holding Ground is a publication of the Intervale Foundation (VT) and the New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI) (MA). Its eighteen authors include farmers, landowners, attorneys, and land use specialists (162 pages). The NJ Farm Link Program has a limited number of copies available specifically for NJ landowners and farmers ($15/copy - contact NJ Farm Link at 609-984-2504 to obtain one). For additional copies ($25/copy), please visit the NESFI bookstore.

Land For Good - Land for Good is a non-profit in the northeast specializing in access to land, leasing, farm transfer planning, and related services for farmers and landowners. Their website includes resources such as:

A New Lease on Farmland: Assuring a Future for Farming in the Northeast - An essay published by the E. F. Schumacher Society with a section that discusses leasing considerations.

Farmland ConneCTions - A Guide for Connecticut Towns, Institutions, and Land Trusts Using or Leasing Farmland  - Developed by UCONN Cooperative Extension and the American Farmland Trust, this leasing guide focuses on help public entities and land trusts make their land available for farming. The guide contains an in-depth discussion of the important components of a lease as well as some profiles of farms and their lease agreements.

Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative - This initiative is a joint project of Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Available on the Sustainable Farm Lease site are a “Landowner’s Toolbox” which includes documents to help a landowner set their priorities for the land; reference materials; and web videos covering land tenure and stewardship. Some of the information is focused on Iowa but may be applicable in other areas as well.

Computing a Cropland Cash Rental Rate - An Iowa State University Extension fact-sheet that discusses approaches for determining and considering a rental rate.

Business Partners: A Joint Business Agreement Guide (Partnerships, Mergers, Joint Ventures, Strategic Alliances, and Contracts) - Available through NY Farm Link (cost: $12).

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  ** Leasing update: Additional resources being developed **

  • The SADC in collaboration with NOFA-NJ is working on a project to support beginning farmers in New Jersey. One part of the project involves enhancing leasing resources for landowners and farmers.

    Visit the project page to learn more about the project, including:

    • New farmland leasing guidebook - now available
    • Informational leasing meetings for landowners and farmers
    • Educational courses for landowners 
    • Improving online linking capacities

    This project is supported by funds from the USDA Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program (NIFA #2011-49400-30739) and will apply to all farms, traditional and organic.

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