- Successful Farming

Articles from Successful Farming magazine, including features on farm business, production, and family features and advice. Look for stories from your favorite Successful Farming editors and columnists. - Successful Farming
  • Flustered by dealing with landlords? Well, in our upcoming issue due out next month, we’ll give you some insight into how to retain current landlords and prospect for new ones. In the meantime, here are a few insights from one of the farmers we featured, Andrew Fansler. The Shelbyville, Indiana, first-generation farmer built a thriving farm from scratch in 20 years.1. How did he access land in the first place? Talk about cold calling! Since Fansler had no family ties to farming, he started from scratch in accessing land. The roots of his farm today link back to a business development class he took while attending Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. In the class, he devised a then-fictional company called Fansler Farms in a business development class. “I decided I was going to use marketing materials I made in the class to send out to people who might be able to rent me their land,” he remembers. “Back then, the Sunday Indianapolis Star would be thick with advertisements from stores trying to get people to come to their places. So if that’s what bigger businesses were doing, why should farmers do any differently?”Over time, his outreach program has created and sustained growth. An outreach program can be something as simple as a good farm website, says Terry Kastens, a retired Kansas State University agricultural economist who farms with family near Atwood, Kansas. One that explains your farming philosophy, work ethic, equipment, and agronomic strategies can help raise landlord awareness.   2. How do you gain the trust of landlords? Listen. Listen. Really Listen.No two landowners are the same in goals or temperament. “Every one of them is a unique individual,” he says. “Understanding and realizing that was huge.” Many landowners crave frequent contact with their farmers, and that’s fine. Others don’t, and they may take offense if you do. “I work with one landowner who is extremely wealthy and often doesn’t have time to talk to me,” says Fansler. “When we talk, she is very pleasant, but she is busy and has a lot going on in her life. If I need to reach her, I first call her staff. I know that when she calls, she really needs something, and I immediately take her call.”Although landlords differ, they do share common interests.“They want someone who is honest and trustworthy, and someone who gives them a fair return on their investment,” says Fansler. “People think that is rocket science, but it’s not.” 3. How can you separate yourself from other would-be renters?Each month, quarter, or year, investment houses like Charles Schwab or Vanguard sent out statements to their investors updating them about Fidelity or Vanguard or any other brokerage that handles funds for investors. Each sends out monthly statements that keep investors abreast of their investments. Fansler mimics this by sending landlords a farm summary updating them on input applications to yield history. “These landowners own highly valued assets,” he says. “Transparency is important to them as they maximize the efficiency of the asset,” he says. 

  • Originally aired July 9, 2015.

  • Originally aired July 7, 2015.


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