Conservation Leases Toolkit

Introduction to LSP's Farm Transition Program is an overview of the information, workshops and services LSP offers on Conservation Leasing and Transition.

The Landscape of Farming and Soil Health

Acronyms are provided for agencies, organizations and selected conservation incentive programs.

Why Do Farmers Do What They Do? LSP developed this fact sheet to help people understand some of the basics of how and why farming practices are what they are today. It can be used to inform the conversation with your renter as you begin talking about ways to build soil health on your land.

Conservation Lease Information & Templates

Including Stewardship in Lease Agreements. LSP Fact Sheet 27 provides examples of practices and other considerations when thinking about
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Frequently Asked Questions on Sustainable and Long-Term Leases in Minnesota. Produced by Farmers' Legal Action Group, this outlines important considerations and optional approaches to leases.

Cash Rent Farm Lease Template. Prepared by LSP with legal review, this long-term lease template has been used for rental. It includes sections on the intent of the landowner, crop rotations that integrate continuous living cover (CLC) and related rental rates, a rent to buy provision and sharing of infrastructure costs for adding in a managed rotational grazing system. In WORD format

Crop-Share Lease. North Central Farm Management Extension Committee generated this lease and has others at http://AgLease101.org

Grazing Farm Lease. Generated by an LSP member/farmer/landowner when renting to graziers in 2017, this lease template this lease is designed for a landowner living on the farm renting part of the acreage and providing for use of landowner’s equipment, water, electricity, fencing and other infrastructure. In WORD format.

Organic Vegetable Crops Farm Lease. Generated by an LSP member/farmer/landowner when renting to vegetable farmers in 2017, this template is designed for a landowner living on the farm, renting part of the acreage and providing for use of landowner’s equipment, water, electricity and other infrastructure. In WORD format

Conversations with Renters

Owner/Renter Discussion Tips. Developed by LSP with suggestions from the first workshop for engaging in productive conversations with a renter. In WORD format.

Farmer (renter) Interview. Produced by members and staff of LSP, these questions are based on experience interviewing prospective new renters. In WORD format.

Courageous Conversation Tips. Prepared by Tracy Sides to help imagine conversations between farmland owners and renters.

Goal Setting on Your Land. A resource from LSP and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture Farm Transitions Toolkit

Setting a rental rate for soil health-building practices

Minnesota Cropland and Pasture Rental Rates. Prepared by David Bau of the University of Minnesota Extension Service, rental rates are estimated over multiple years using the Minnesota Agriculture Statistics Service Annual Rental Rate Survey for row cropland and pasture. It is followed by a Landowner’s Cash Rent Worksheet prepared by David Bau that can be used to estimate cash rent. For Iowa Farmland Rental Rates, click here.

The Cropping Systems Calculator. LSP Fact Sheet #28 describes a tool that will help you and/or a renter compare costs and returns for a standard row crop mix to longer crop rotations, use of cover crops or different options for grazing by ruminants of cover crops or pastures. It has built in defaults or can be used with Schedule F information. This will require a separate sign-up so updates can be provided: http://landstewardshipproject.org/stewardshipfood/chippewa10croppingsystemscalculator

Valuing Sustainable Practices from the Farm Transitions Toolkit. Developed by LSP, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Farmers Legal Action Group and National Center for Appropriate Technology, this provides many other resources. It can also be useful for figuring rental rates for cover crops and other practices. http://landstewardshipproject.org/morefarmers/seekingfarmersseekinglandclearinghouse

Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit. This is a newer option available to Minnesota taxpayers who rent or sell to a beginning farmer.

Additional Resources in & Beyond LSP

Resource Guide. Assembled by LSP, this lists specific resources on LSP webpages, as well as other’s websites about lease and rental information.

The above Toolkit items can be downloaded as one PDF.

Background on Soil Health

Soil Health, Water and Climate Change: A Pocket Guide to What You Need to Know: Produced by LSP, this is a primer on the science also includes stories of farmers who are making it work in their operations. Available as a separate PDF or as an app here.

"Unlocking the Secrets of the Soil" is a presentation on soil health given by Kristin Brennan, assistant state soil scientist, Minnesota NRCS at workshop sessions.

• An LSP Ear to the Ground podcast features a conversation with a landowner and a soil health expert on how to develop a good relationship with renters based on farmland stewardship.

• Episode 230 of LSP's Ear to the Ground podcast features Robin Moore talking about how LSP is using soil health to forge stewardship partnerships between non-operating landowners and the farmers who rent from them.