Two Sharecropping Secrets

Get back to the land and have a simpler way of life

Many folks want to get back to the land and a simpler way of life, but they lack the money to buy a house and enough acreage for crops and livestock. Here are some suggestions about how you can have it all— even close to cities.

LAND RECON: You may want to search your area’s local newspapers for classified ads that ask for people to move onto property as caretakers or tenant farmers. Or, you may want to invest in a few ads of your own. Also, tap into medical, financial and legal periodicals for your state, since professional people often invest in land they don’t have time to utilize. Contact the publications of agricultural agencies, most of which have inexpensive advertising rates and large circulations aimed primarily at rural families, who may have property available. Enlist the help of county farm extension agents and farmer co-ops in the region. Other good sources of sharecropping positions include rural hardware and feed-and-seed stores where farmers gather, as well as vets and ministers.

STAYING POWER: Here are two tips to help ensure you’ll be able to use the land you’ve found. (1) Give more to the person who is letting you use his or her property than you had agreed to give in exchange for that privilege. As long as the landlord feels that he or she is receiving more than what was bargained for, you’ll have a landlord who’s eager to share the wealth. (2) Remember to treat your landlord’s property, tools, fences and other possessions as if they were your own by making all the needed repairs. I’ve actually known owners who have been so pleased with their tenants that they’ve said, “Forget about the rent. I like what you’ve done to the old place. Keep it up, and the farm is yours for free as long as you want to live here.”