I used to referee basketball games, and I’ve learned that you can make 99% of the calls right, but if you make one bad call that’s what will be remembered. In some ways dealing with landlords can be that way. You may have worked with a landowner for years and done everything right, but if you don’t respond well when the situation calls for it, you can lose the farmland.

Several years ago, about the time land prices and rents were really taking off, one of my landlords was offered higher rent for a farm prior to our contract negotiations. I may not have been happy about that move, but it did allow us the opportunity to sit down with the landlord and be as open as possible about where we were with our operation and find out what they wanted and needed from us. As a result, we have a better relationship with the family now than ever before.

That experience resulted in new clauses we now include in our rental agreements. We have added wording that gives us the opportunity to look at bids to rent or purchase and match or increase those numbers.