Ensure Long-Term Productivity

Encouragement and a lease with mandatory conservation provisions protect your resources and foster a long, cooperative landlord-tenant relationship.

Do.Know Your Role

Lead.Close To Home

Managing for return on investment and long-term sustainability is complex for all farm landowners. Leasing adds concerns and shared opportunities.

Understand your power and responsibility as a landowner. 

If you lease, your tenant operator controls the land for a certain amount of time, but you reap rewards or bear consequences for its condition at the end of the term. You can require that the property is farmed in a way that ensures long-term productivity, protects the land’s natural assets, and minimizes off-farm impacts including water quality.

Your involvement may be as active as co-owning the farm business or as hands-off as receiving a check. At minimum develop a thoughtful lease, inspect the property, and meet with the tenant at least once every year.

Clear goals and a decision about involvement are absolutely necessary for a successful long-term lease arrangement.

Know your land.

If you are a farming landowner, this is second nature. If you lease land to a tenant, it may not be the case. Land features dictate farming methods and the type of crop a parcel will successfully support. Walk the land with your tenant or an advisor. Observe its natural features and condition. Ask questions. Ensure a conservation plan is in place to realistically address its long-term condition, value, and impacts on water quality and stream health.

Know agricultural best practices.

If you are a non-farming landowner, take time to understand farming best practices. Soil quality, slope, access, location, micro-climate, and other factors determine what can be grown and how your land must be managed to sustain productivity, value, and its natural assets over time.

If you farm land you own, never stop watching, learning, and improving practices.

Departments of agriculture in each Basin state provide handbooks outlining best practices. Soil and Water Conservation District offices in each county offer consultation. Non-government farming and conservation organizations also educate, consult, and develop water management plans.

Ask for advice and technical support when you need it.

No one can know every aspect of conservation farming. Whether you are operating the farm yourself or leasing it to others, watch for issues and opportunities. Call on reliable advisors to help you make wise decisions and investments and take timely action.

Develop a Clear Lease Arrangement


Collaborators: Work Together


own the asset.

Personal communication and clear rental agreements benefit people, soil, streams & fish.


make choices daily.

Across the Basin, producers work for profitable operations that protect water quality.

Local Organizations

point the way.

Committed leaders gather neighbors and resources to act for the common good.


provide technical assistance.

Experts and mentors are ready to help.