Newsletters / FAQ

Newsletters & Articles

Palmer Amaranth Earns "Noxious" Weed Status in Iowa. Why Should Landowners Care?

FSS Spring 2017 Newsletter

Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

FSS Winter 2017 Newsletter

Decision Time for Rented Land (Top Producer Article)

Why do Cash Rent Landlords need to know Yield Results?

Importance of Big Data for the Landowner

As A Landowner What are your Key Performance Indicators?

Factoring ARC-CO Payments in Leases

Should Farm Leasing be an Annual Guessing Game? 

Landowners Know your Soil Health 

Record Keeping-  The Time to Start is Now

Videos
December Meeting
Part 1 - Farm Productivity (Greg Townsend)
Part 2 - Soil Health (Greg Townsend)
Part 3 - Farm Records (Andy Mullan)
Part 4 - Lease Trends & Tips (Mark Gannon)

I. General Questions:

1. Why Farmland Stewardship Solutions?
2. What is the history of Farmland Stewardship Solutions?
3. What's wrong with the old leasing system used on most farms today?
4. There are surveys on cash rents available.  Aren't they good enough guides?
5. I am in Iowa and have a good Corn Suitability Rating (CSR). How much should I get for rent per CSR point?
6. What kind of leases are possible through Farmland Stewardship Solutions?
7. Is FSS also the Farm Manager?
8. What are your fees?
9. How do we use FSS to find a new tenant?
10. Why can't the tenant do what FSS does?
11. How long are your leases?
12. What do tenants say about your program of data sharing and flexible leases?
13. I grew up on a farm but not tech savvy or understand all the programs that are out there. Is that something you can help with?
14. What about the online storage system? How does that work?
15. My tenant doesn't want to share the information. How do we get past that? Is a verbal yield report good enough?
16. How do I get started?
 

I. General Questions:

1. Why Farmland Stewardship Solutions?
We are the first and only comprehensive farm leasing assistance website with people on the ground also.  Our clients have the goal to preserve the land through proper management starting with a comprehensive land assessment then structure a lease with a good tenant to not only pay a fair rent but get or keep the land on a long term sustainable program.

2. What is the history of Farmland Stewardship Solutions?
Farmland Stewardship Solutions began as US Farm Lease in 2008 when the idea grew out of Mark Gannon's farm management experience in Ames, Iowa, where he worked in private farm management with Gannon Real Estate & Consulting as well as the Land Manager at Iowa State University from 1994 - 2000.  Since the inception in 2008 the company has evolved into a lease monitoring and stewardship focused agricultural consulting company. The name was changed to Farmland Stewardship Solutions in 2016 to better reflect our mission and emphasis.

3. What's wrong with the old leasing system used on most farms today?
We strongly believe that farm rents should be based upon the productivity and unique situation for each property. The only way to achieve a fair rent and know you are taking care of the long term value of the land is get good data on fertility, yield results, chemical applications, fertilizer and/or manure applications, crop rotations and other factors then we can figure the proper lease and stewardship plan for the land.

In Iowa, for instance, approximately 57% of farms are leased and 92% of those farms are leased directly by the owners without assistance. Most owners have little to no data on yields, fertility, conservation plans, erosion levels, drainage tile and other information which they should have as part of their data set. We assist in gathering that information and storing it long term in their own data file at US Farm Records (www.usfarmrecords.com)
 

4. There are surveys on cash rents available.  Aren't they good enough guides?
Surveys are a small sampling of reported lease rates that are always lagging the market and are not reflective of the unique nature of your farm. In Iowa they are now combining some survey results for adjoining counties due to lack of responses. All cash rents are wrong when the year is over since the price and yields always vary from what was assumed at the time the rate was set. We prefer a system that is based upon the productivity of the land. These can be flexible cash rents with a guaranteed base rent but has the potential for additional rent following harvest the farm produces well and the markets are favorable.  

5. I am in Iowa and have a good Corn Suitability Rating (CSR). How much should I get for rent per CSR point?
The CSR system was set up for county assessors based on soil surveys done mostly in the late 1950s through the 1960s. Most farms have changed in the last 50 years and I would not want to rely on this for much especially my rents. Most farms have lost considerable topsoil and organic matter during that time thus are not as good as they were. Some are as good or better if well maintained and manure applied. We believe rents should be based on what the farm is today and not what the soils were 50 years ago. If an owner and tenant have done a good job and the farm is more productive than average then they should both share in the productivity. 
6. What kind of leases are possible through Farmland Stewardship Solutions?
We can handle all lease types from crop share to flexible and straight cash rent. The owner chooses what they would prefer based upon their needs and desires. There are many options. If they need a new tenant then we can set up the tenant search process to find the right fit for the farm and the owner.

7. Is FSS also the Farm Manager?
No but FSS is set up to assist the owner, farm manager or fiduciary such as a trustee or a bank trust department.  The owner is in charge of negotiation and ongoing concerns with the farm and tenant plus handling all the funds and other required duties. FSS is back up to the owner and provides him or her with the tools to help them be successful by helping set up the lease, collecting farm information from the tenant, suppliers or government sources, sends needed reminders to the tenant plus analyzes the data on the farm and from other sources that might affect the land. We then report back to you with an annual report on the health and condition of the farm plus assist with the calculations and billing of any flex lease payments. 

8. What are your fees?
Our fees are roughly half what an owner might pay for a farm manager for assistance but are variable depending on the situation. Most fees are more than recouped in additional rent payments plus you have good data stored for years to come.   

9. How do we use FSS to find a new tenant?
This process is part of the service that we will assist you with. The on-line tool is meant to solicit applications for tenants under certain cash rent, flexible cash rent or crop share leases and not intended for cash rent bidding of farmland. We also encourage owners to rent to Beginning Farmers and can use the tool to do this. 

10. Why can't the tenant do what FSS does?
The owner and the tenant do not have the same goals and needs in managing the farm plus have conflicting interests in establishing annual rents. We bridge the gap that a tenant can’t or won’t do for a landlord. Most tenants have many owners and simply cannot look after all the interests that an owner may require.  For instance there are many government programs that either the tenant is not aware, doesn’t want to go to the trouble to make you aware and may take away from the farming acres so they have no need to make you aware. Also we monitor as best we can erosion problems. Some tenants don’t want to be or shouldn’t be in the position of being responsible for the owner’s needs so that is where FSS or a farm manager fits in. 
 
11. How long are your leases?
We strive for long term leases with an open approach to the data. If the lease is set up correctly the lease can go on for many years.  As long as the land is productive and well maintained with good data sharing then the relationship with the tenant should last for many years. We recommend a clause in the lease to be able to cancel with proper notification in case of an unforeseen situation.
12. What do tenants say about your program of data sharing and flexible leases?
All tenants understand the need in this day and age for the landowner to better understand their land especially since there is so much more information available now. Most tenants don’t want annual rent negotiations any more than landowners do so they welcome a flex lease based upon the productivity of the farm with a built in bonus system. 
13. I grew up on a farm but not tech savvy or understand all the programs that are out there. Is that something you can help with?
That is what we do and FSS is the answer to your needs. We understand these situations and can sort it out for you so you can do what you do best or simply feel the farm is in good hands. Many times we are assurance that the tenant is doing a good job and if they are then we will document it for you and let you know.

14. What about the online storage system? How does that work?
One of the frustrations that led to FSS and US Farm Records was that most farms had no records as far as yield history, fertility, drainage maps, past improvements, wells and other pertinent information. It is more evident all the time that buyers and tenants are assuming the worst in buying and renting land thus discounting properties without good verifiable data. FSS tries to gather as much information as possible in the beginning and store it permanently on US Farm Records. As we move forward we store all records and reports plus the tenant or the owner can also log-in and upload information into the permanent record so all is available for current use and future reference.  

15. My tenant doesn't want to share the information. How do we get past that? Is a verbal yield report good enough?
This situation is not unusual but the climate is changing. Even the ISU Extension Service is recommending getting as much farm data as possible. Sometimes you have to ease into it with longer term tenants especially with yield information but you or we cannot properly evaluate a property without good data on productivity. We can get that through combine data, crop insurance reports or scale tickets. A properly calibrated yield monitor is the best for our use and that data can be linked and sent to us directly from the grower, seed company or crop consultant. A verbal yield report is sometimes all we got in the past but times are changing. 

16. How do I get started?
Give us a call at 515 243-9352.

back to top