Crop yields are really only one piece of the puzzle—and they’re not necessarily the most important,” Herrity said. “Yields change from producer to producer. A savvy farmer will come in and look at the soil’s rating and compare it to what’s currently being produced to assess the viability of the land. You can have a great farm, but if the farmer doesn’t care for the land, then it won’t produce great yields. The next farmer could double production.”
“Crop yields are really only one piece of the puzzle—and they’re not necessarily the most important”
If crop yields aren’t the biggest obstacle to selling your farmland, what is?
“Well, it’s really all the things we don’t normally think about when we think of farming,” Herrity said.
Here are some very common setbacks when it comes to selling your acreage.
Long-term Leases & Other Agreements
This is a biggie. If you decide to sell your farmland, but you have a long-term lease on the land, this can be a problem for buyers. Typically, people buying farmland are looking to work the land themselves. If you think you might be selling your farmland in the near future, avoid establishing any long-term leases. Alternatively, if you have a long-term lease on the land and feel it’s time to sell, consider buying out the lease or reworking the terms.
>Helpful Tip: Put all your updated lease documents in one place and make digital copies of the materials produced by the real estate agent for potential buyers.
Farmland Ownership Models
Sometimes a farm is a single-family entity. There’s one name on the title. If this is the case for your farmland, your sale will most likely be straightforward. If not, things can get a little sticky. Farms with multiple owners require a stakeholder consensus to sell. If everyone is on the same page, this will be easy to establish. If not, offering the land for sale will need to wait until all owners agree to the sale terms.
>Helpful Tip: Meet with a trust attorney if there’s the possibility that multiple entities could cause issues at the closing table.
Farms are big, expansive swaths of land that often require easements to allow for property access in otherwise inaccessible parts of the acreage. Easements are typically established with neighboring property owners or other entities, such as the Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service. Buyers will want to clearly understand these easements, their permanence, and how they affect the land’s use.
>Helpful Tip: Qualified real estate agents such as the professionals here at Hayden Outdoors are experienced with conservation easements, water and mineral rights, and more. Write down your questions and call one of our team members to go over your inquiries.
Liens & Encroachments
If the farm is the rose in the deal, the liens and the encroachments are the thorns. Liens are placed on property, buildings, or equipment that have outstanding debt until the debt is paid. Encroachments are just that—any unauthorized intrusion onto the property, either above or below the land. This can be an old fence that wanders away from its property line, an aging tree that bows from one property onto another, or a neighbor’s rusty tractor that he or she refuses to move from your land. It’s best to clear your farmland of all liens and encroachments, as much as possible, before listing it for sale.
>Helpful Tip: It’s also wise to have your real estate professional work with the title company to pull an ownership and encumbrances report (O&E Report), which will show any liens or judgments against the property.
Of course, don’t let these challenges deter you if you’ve tilled your last acre. For 45 years, the experienced real estate professionals at Hayden Outdoors have successfully completed complicated transactions. They know the ins and outs of large farmland sales. They’re happy to help and explain as they go, ensuring you get the most out of your sale, and your farmland is in good hands. Contact Hayden Outdoors today to learn more about selling your farm.