Farmer-Landowner Partnerships

Approximately 50% of the land being farmed in Chatham is owned by individuals who do not farm the land themselves. Both landowners and farmers contribute to the vitality of the town’s rural economy and landscape. Farmers typically lease land from a number of landowners, and, when land changes hands, both parties need to understand the requirements and obligations involved in these arrangements.

These materials were developed by the Chatham Agricultural Partnership to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and landowners.

Leasing Land to Farmers

An important source of working agricultural land in the town of Chatham is land
leased by farmers from private landowners.

Leasing land provides many benefits:

For landowners:

  • Active farming keeps the fields being planted, harvested, fertilized, limed, and rotated between crops
  • This in turn provides the visual enjoyment of a working agricultural landscape
  • The farmer’s agricultural exemption may significantly reduce the landowner’s property and school taxes

For farmers:

  • Additional acreage is available for production
  • This land does not have to be purchased, or incur property or school taxes

Not all land is suitable for agricultural leasing. Desirable land has:

  • Good soil
  • Reasonable contour and grade
  • Adequate size for the crop
  • Easily accessibility from the farmstead
  • Proximity to other fields, whether leased or owned by the farmer

Although any land can be leased for agricultural production, certain steps must
be taken to qualify the land for agricultural exemptions from property and school

  • The soil quality must be evaluated by the Soil and Conservation Service
  • A lease must be executed between the farmer and the landowner
  • The appropriate paperwork must be submitted to the assessor’s office prior to the recording date for the year.

This takes a little time to set up the first year, but then is easy to maintain in
subsequent years. Please refer to the highlighted links for detailed instructions on
performing these steps.

Working leased land represents a considerable investment for a farmer.

Production Costs Per Acre


Chopping and Transport to Farm$43-72
Chopping, Transport and Storage$122-380 (per house at 5-8 acres/hour)
Cost of Seed and Fertilizer$125-150 per year 2


Bailing (includes mowing and raking)$48 small bales
$29 large square bales
$31 large round bales
Chopping and Transport$26
Chopping, Transport and Storage$31
Entire Process (Mowing-Storage)$314 (per house at 7-10 acres/hour)
Cost of Seed and Fertilizer$125-250 as needed, generally every 5-10 years for a good stand2
1. Hoard's Dairyman dated August 10, 2002 (2001 survey), except seed and fertilizer expense
2. A. Ooms & Sons

Download a model lease.
Disclaimer: The materials contained in this site are for informational purposes. Before signing a lease or any other contract, you should seek legal advice.