The Basic Idea
The concept for Northeast Illinois FarmLink is simple. It starts with profile postings. This site makes it possible for farmers and farmland owners to create FREE, in-depth profile postings that provide pertinent information about their farming dreams or farmland in northeast Illinois. Farmers and landowners can then search and sift through those profiles to find potentially good matches for a land tenure arrangement, whether that be a lease or a sale or something else.
PLEASE NOTE: Farmers and landowners who have created profiles have access to all of the information (including contact info) from everyone else's profiles on the site. If you haven't created your own profile posting, then you can see only SOME of the basic info (not including contact info) from all profiles. So to get the full value of this site, jump in and create your profile!
- How do I see profile postings?
You can see basic profile information on the site even without creating your own profile. Just click on “Find Farmland” or “Find a Farmer” and you’ll be taken to a page where you can look at a list of farmer profiles and a map-linked group of farmland profiles. You can then narrow down the list by specifying certain criteria (like the amount of farmable acreage you need) that are what you are looking for.
To see the contact information and more in-depth descriptions that the farmers and farmland owners wrote up, you will need to have your own profile published on the website.
- How do I create a profile posting?
1. GET TO THE RIGHT PLACE: You can get to the profile form either through the “Create Listing” tab on the home page or by clicking on the “Find Farmland” or “Find a Farmer” tab on the home page (whichever is appropriate for you situation) and clicking on the Create Listing tab there.
2. FILLING OUT INFORMATION: There are two sections of information that you need to fill out as part of the profile posting process. The first section creates your user account and is more focused on general information and some demographic information. The second section is more focused on your farm or farmland profile. Once your profile is saved, you can log back in at any time to do further work on it and continue to save your work until you are ready to submit it.
3.SUBMISSION & REVIEW: When you are ready to submit your profile, press the SUBMIT link at the bottom of the listing creation page. This will notify our staff that your profile is ready for review. We will do our best to get back to you within seven business days. We like to talk with each person creating a profile to better understand their situation and explain any questions we have about their profile or revisions we would suggest. Our intent is to help your search be as successful as possible.
4. POSTING: Once the review is complete and we’ve had some contact with you, the profile will be posted. You will receive an email when that has been done. When your profile is put up on the website, you will then have access to the full profile on the site, including contact information.
- What if I need to modify my profile posting?
You can continue to modify the profile once it is posted on the website by logging in to your profile and making the changes you desire.
- How long will it take to create a profile?
Depending on how prepared you are, we estimate it will take 20-60 minutes to complete the profile and submit it for publishing. We believe it will generally take farmland owners a little more time because we request that they provide some photos of their land well. Overall, this may sound like a lot of time. We believe, however, that having good in-depth profiles will actually save you time in the long run. The in-depth information and the ability to sort for the exact characteristics that you are looking for should prevent you from having to make wasted calls and contacts. We hope this greater efficiency will also reduce some of the stress of your search.
- Will my profile expire? Can it be renewed?
Profiles expire one year after they are first posted live on the website. We will send email notifications to you in advance of the expiration. If you would like the listing to be renewed for another year, we are happy to make that happen. You can also have your profile removed from the website by contacting us. It would be a wonderful courtesy to us if you could tell us if you have made a successful match with a farmer or farmland owner at any point.
- Do I need to keep checking back for updates and for news of land connection events?
No. Once you’ve had your profile posted, you will automatically receive the occasional emails we send out to farmers, farmland owners, and other people interested in farmland access in northeast Illinois. This will include info about new listings, educational events, and other topics of interests. If it’s too early for you to post a profile but you still want to be kept in the loop, then sign up for these email through the prompt in the footer of the webpage. Want to stop receiving them? Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What else can I do to improve my odds of finding farmland or a farmer?
We encourage you to check out the resource and event listings we have provided on this website even before you begin talking with farmland owners or farmers. Just click on “Resources & Events” in the top right corner of the web page. A farmer-landowner arrangement is often a long-term commitment. The more prepared you are for thinking through how exactly that arrangement will work, the more likely that arrangement will be to work over time. That in turn will make your life much happier and much less stressful.
Events for farmers and landowners are an excellent opportunity to meet people and to learn more about key topics in-depth. Our listing is of events we offer as well as events offered by others. To be notified of new events coming up, we recommend that you sign up for our email newsletter. You can do that at the bottom of this page.
- Can I talk to someone to get advice?
Yes. We would be happy to talk or meet over coffee to provide ideas and guidance. Because we have limited staff, we usually can't get too involved beyond that kind of assistance. But if we know what you are looking for and come across a good potential match, we will definitely reach out. Reach out to us by email at email@example.com.
- What advice do you have for reaching out to a farmland owner or farmer?
The first piece of advice is to take it one step at a time, especially if you are not very experienced. Through an email exchange, you should be able to get factual questions clarified easily and to share key facts about yourself and what you're looking for. The information you both gather and how you each communicate should help you both figure out if it still seems like it might be a good match. A phone call would then make sense to ask and answer more questions and to perhaps set up the details of an in-person meeting as a next step after that.
The second piece of advice is get a sense of whether the arrangements you're each looking for would make sense and whether, especially in the case of a lease or other ongoing relationship, you feel like each other's personalities and values are a good match. The more ongoing contact you will have with a farmer or farmland owner and the longer that contact will be the more personalities and values will determine whether that arrangement is a success. Don't feel any need to make any decisions or commitments at this first meeting. Make the common goal just to get to know each other more and to better understand each other's goals and potential timeline. If the other person wants to move faster than you do, don't let that influence the timeline you would feel comfortable with. If things do seem promising and a second meeting is arranged, consider having a friend who is experienced in agriculture come with to give you another perspective as well.
- Do you have some general advice on the search for farmland or a farmer for one's land?
We have three pieces of advice:
#1: Use lots of strategies for looking for the right land or right farmer. This website should be just one of your efforts.
#2: Use contacts and networks of relationships as much as possible in your search. Think about people and/or organizations that are well-connected and let them know of your search. This will drastically expand your possibilities. Events are great ways of learning and networking.
#3: Give yourself enough time and be persistent. If you know you will need farmland or a farmer in a year or even two, don’t wait to start looking and getting the word out. It takes time to find the right match. It takes more time to work out agreements or financing or other necessary steps. Keep plugging away over time. Keep a journal on your strategies and connections. Don't give up.
- What's the small print behind all of this assistance? What's the catch?
- What can I do to show my appreciation?
That is very kind of you to ask. The biggest favor you could do for us is to share news of how your search works out. In particular, if you make a successful connection through this website, we would be grateful if you could let us know. It would be richly gratifying to our team. And it would be great for our supporters and partners to know that the investment in this effort has been worthwhile. If you want to show more appreciation then that, please visit the Liberty Prairie Foundation's home website where you can make a charitable donation.