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How to Create Passive Income From Vacant Land

January 26, 2018

Empty or non-cultivated land is everywhere as is the desire to create passive income from it. Often, land is used for hunting, UTV touring, or camping depending on interests. This land may not be used for much at all, which is what we are highlighting. Land that is not currently being used will require taxes to be paid as well as any remaining financing. If this land has no agricultural purpose the taxes can be a burden to the landowner. In this case, a landowner may be tempted to sell the land to get rid of the associated taxes or possibly financing. Before considering the sale of property, landowners should consider other options at their disposal to relieve financial stress and in some cases, provide passive income as well.

Lease Your Land for Passive Income

Leasing your land is a way to gain income from land that you are not currently using. Leasing, by definition, is giving someone else the usage rights to land that you own. For example, you can lease it for a solar project – a super easy way to earn some extra income without a lot of effort on your part. Here are a few lease options at your disposal, some of which can create passive income for landowners.

Lease Land for Farming

A landowner may have initially purchased your land for farming, but no longer have the time. Maybe a farm is inherited land from previous family generations and the landowner has no idea how to put it to use. This is a great situation for landowners because it can be a passive income source. You can lease your land for farming to somebody who desires to invest the time and effort in cultivating the land for commodity products such as corn, barley, wheat, peas, or alfalfa.

These agreements can be reached based on yield, monthly payments, or both. These lease options can make substantial money for all parties involved, especially with commodity prices holding at a high value for the time being, “Remember that commodity prices tend to be volatile and can shift quickly.” In order to consider your land for farming it is best to use land that has already been cultivated for this purpose, however, it can be doable provided you have access to irrigation and the right soil composition.

Lease Land for Ranching

Leasing land for ranching is much the same as leasing it for farming. Leasing for cattle or other livestock can be an easy way to profit from land. Landowners can allow a rancher to run livestock on their land, maintain and feed animals, and keep animals safe in return for a monthly lease fee. For this, a landowner will need to provide fencing or come to an agreement with the leasee on building and maintaining a fence. The landowner will also need to have access to water through irrigation or natural water with rights to access it, and preferably food for the animals to eat. Leased land for livestock is usually based on the feed available on that land such grass or alfalfa.

Lease Land for Energy Production

Leasing land for energy production is a straight forward process. The two most common ways lease your land for energy are to lease for solar energy or lease for wind power. Both solar leases and wind turbine leases require open land in order to be viable. There are other obvious requirements for energy leases; wind turbines need a windy area and solar arrays need an area with a lot of sun. These contracts can be fairly lucrative for landowners, so if a landowner has unused or non-cultivated land, energy leases are something worth considering. If this is energy leases are something you are interested in, is an excellent resource where you can select your parcel and receive an evaluation as to whether your land can be used for this purpose.

Lease Land for Hunting

If you have unused or non-cultivated land and you notice an abundance of wild game on it, you have a significant opportunity to put it on the market as a hunting lease. Leasing land for hunting is extremely common, especially East of the Mississippi. Hunting leases are be effective in the Western United States as well. Land not currently set up for hunting should be improved by the landowner created through contract with the leasee. These improvements can include food plots, blinds, and forage or other similar improvements. For advice on improving your hunting land, visit or read further on the National Land Realty blog. One advantage of hunting leases is that they can be coordinated alongside a ranch or farm lease, depending on the contract you use.

Use Land as a Timber Investment

Between 2020 and 2022, the price of wood skyrocketed due to supply limitations and a drastic increase in demand. This gold rush on wood has increased the appeal of timber investments nationwide. Not all land with trees is worthy of harvesting the timber, so it is best to consult a professional to perform a Site Index, which is a method of evaluating the board feet of harvestable timber on a piece of land.

Other things to keep in mind is the distance between your land and any prospective saw mill that you may be working with, “More distance equals less profit on your timber.” Professionals to keep in mind for this are foresters or land professionals such as the agents that work for National Land Realty. To learn more about timber investment management, these articles, or this podcast will be a terrific resource to get landowners started. National Land Realty also offers a Preferred Service Provider program that can be used to research possible forestry professionals in your area, just click here and select “Services.”

Rent Land for Recreation, Events, and Holidays

Marketing your property for rental use will be the hardest part of this otherwise easy use of land. Rental services such as AirBnB or Tentrr are terrific resources for getting the word out on recreational use and creating passive income. This can be as simple as providing a camping spot or offering access to lakes, rivers, or streams for recreational use. Another method of getting rental use out of your land is to contact local event coordinators and wedding planners should your land be optimal for this type of use.

There are also several opportunities during the year where you can put your land to use. Think about starting a pumpkin or strawberry patch. You can have your local town residents come pumpkin picking and give them hayrides a couple weekends throughout the fall season or have them come by to pick their own strawberries during the summer. A pumpkin patch, Christmas tree farm, or strawberry patch may not yield much in terms of profit, but the passive income generated could be enough to cover some of your expenses.

Build a Community Garden

This option is for a property that’s just a quick car ride away from neighborhoods. Building a community garden can be a fun and great way to connect with neighbors. Lease out some spots to the folks that want that farm-to-table lifestyle or those who are trying out a new hobby!

If you have questions on how to improve, rent, lease, or create income off of your land, contact a land professional here!

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