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Conference Name Ladies on the Land: Equipping Women Landowners with Farmland Leasing Knowledge and Skills

Beth Scheckelhoff, Emily Adams, Peggy Hall, and Tony Nye

Summary

The USDA estimates that 39 percent of US farmland is rented with nearly 80% of this land owned by individuals not actively involved in farming. In many cases, female landowners have inherited or assumed responsibility for farmland through various life circumstances with little knowledge of farming or farm leases. To address this need, OSU Extension in Coshocton and Putnam Counties provided a workshop for women landowners to discuss agricultural risks in leasing land, the components and legal aspects of farm leases in Ohio, tools for communicating and negotiating with tenants, factors affecting cash rental rates, and more. Speakers and 19 attendees from both locations were connected via Zoom teleconferencing enabling interaction and discussion. Attendees represented over 900 acres of leased farmland with tenure as a landowner ranging from one to 53 years. The majority of attendees had fixed cash (50%) followed by crop share (28%) and flexible cash (22%) leases with most being verbal (n=11) compared to written (n=5). The greatest measured changes in participant knowledge pertained to common provisions in farm leases, legal enforceability of farm leases, and lease renewal and termination terms. The top five factors affecting cash rental rates included expected crop returns, land quality, size of fields, conditions of lease, and drainage capabilities. Additional challenges facing attendees and educational interests and needs were discussed.

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