FAMILY farms across Australia are being encouraged to consider leasing their land as a profitable business option - with a shortage of country now available.
TSA Farm Leasing senior consultant, John Whitfeld, said there was now an overwhelming increase in the number of family farm operations looking to expand their businesses though lease arrangements, driven by the desire to increase profitability.
"Many family farms are looking to get bigger - without having to purchase the land," he said.
"In the United States, more than 38% of production land is farmed by tenanted farmers, and we are now seeing a real shift in Australia, with our farmers looking to follow that trend."
TSA Farm Leasing has officially unveiled its new website, to help farmers identify the key points of how leasing can fit into their program.
"It's amazing that Australian agriculture is being overwhelmed by two groups - those growing their business and increasing their prosperity and those feeling bewildered, with too much to do and not enough time to do it.
"It's a national agricultural industry issue. Both groups are feeling constrained and the solution lies in bringing people together.
"Leasing agricultural land can have many benefits to people living on the land, including retirees looking to secure passive income, without having to sell their asset. It is also a way for many young farmers to enter the industry, without having to invest huge amounts of capital."
Mr Whitfeld said there were a number of important issues to cover when entering into a lease arrangement, to ensure it is successful for both parties involved," he said.
"But two of the biggest factors farmers need to consider to ensure their lease works, is to take into account the variations in Australia's weather conditions and risk sharing.
"It's important that the agreement between the owner of the land and the leasee includes a plan for adjustments to stocking rates, based on current seasonal conditions.
"If a drought hits in the first year of a three-year lease, both parties must have a plan mapped out as to what that means in terms of changes to the lease cost and stocking rates - both need to be flexible.
"The landholder must also have certainty that his/her land is left in the same or better condition than before the lease started. For example, groundcover rates must be decided as part of the lease agreement."
John Whitfeld is a fourth generation farmer, with experience as a Lessor in a number of land leases in farming and grazing land over the past 35 years. He is also experienced in remote management systems and marketing.
TSA was established near Bingara in northern NSW in 1992, and has already helped many farming families across Australia. For more information, go to the new website www.tsafarmleasing.com.au