Leasing Farmland

Access to affordable tillable farmland and pasture is one of the primary barriers for next-generation farmers and a healthy evolution of the agricultural economy in the Virginia Piedmont. This challenge has produced some innovative partnerships between landowners and beginning farmers.

Leasing Stories

In order to help potential next-generation farmers, and non-farming landowners who are interested in leasing their land, The Piedmont Environmental Council has put together “Finding a Place to Grow: How the Next Generation is Gaining Access to Farmland”, which includes eight profiles of successful farmland lease arrangements in Virginia. The profiles focus on the different business arrangements underlying these successful leases, to demonstrate the various options that landowners and beginning farmers have to establish partnerships and prudently share risks, responsibilities and rewards. We hope you find the stories helpful and inspiring!

Download the PDF or read the stories online:

A Communal Approach

Local Farm Becomes A Launch Pad For Entrepreneurs

"The parcel that had been leased to one farmer for grazing cattle is now home to more than a half-dozen farm-related and other businesses..."

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Earning a Herd, Opening a Store

Story of Heritage Hollow Farms

"I wish more farmers that want to retire or landowners with land just sitting there would give young farmers the opportunity, because that’s the biggest hurdle for farmers is finding land they can afford."

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Leasing from Likeminded Landowners

Working Vegetable Farm Finds New Hands

“You don’t want to be signing a lease on something that isn’t going to grow well for you..”

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Organic Farming At A Public Nature Preserve

An Opportunity to Grow Food and Invest In the Environment

"...they didn’t realize at first how unique the property — and their relationship with the nonprofit that owns it — would be, or how long they’d want to stay."

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Making the Most of His Family's Land

With Additional Acreage, Added Opportunity

"Steadfast Farm has taken on twice the amount of land through a handful of leases, mostly to manage his neighbors’ fields."

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The Model For So Many Others

A Long-Term Lease That Creates Ownership

“We feel ownership for this land,” Bynum said. “We care about it and we know it. We feel like we’re going to be here for our careers.”

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Lessons Learned At Whisper Hill Farm

What Happens Next Door Matters

“I didn’t quite understand how much someone up above you or a river below you could impact you. We didn't have enough experience farming to see it all...”

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Housing Development Sets Aside Land For Farmers

Story of Willowsford

What we found is that a lot of the young farmers are lacking land and money — two important things — and we actually had the land and the money to start this.

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More Information about Leasing

Workshops

  • Learn about past and future leasing workshops

Finding a Place to Grow

  • Check out our series of stories about innovative leasing arrangements 

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