If you’re like most farmers, renting farmland is your largest expense. It’s where you make a lot of important decisions that affect your farm’s profitability.

We’re seeing some historically high rents now. But I think it’s becoming more likely that high rents will have to change — perhaps in the near future.

Remember when most land was farmed under crop share agreements? That usually went well for farmers because it didn’t place all of the risk on them.

Then things moved more toward cash rent. You started having to pay a higher premium for rental ground. I talked recently with an ag banker who said that rents seem to be very market-driven today, perhaps based more on the market than on actual economics.

Should your cash rent be lower in the future? So far, rents always have been negotiated upward.

Farmers haven’t needed to talk with their landlords about negotiating rents downward. I think this is something we’re going to need to learn to do — and we may need to learn fast.

Start planting seeds of these ideas now with your landlords. You’ve got to warm them up to the reality that grain prices could return to lower levels. Talk with them about taking another look at your cash rent.

Ask them if they think commodity prices could go down to lower levels. Show them what that would look like from a financial standpoint in your operation. One day it may no longer be profitable for you to farm that land at your current level of cash rent.

If you wait until prices are at lower levels, it will be too late. Someone else already will have talked with your landlord and he’ll pay whatever the landlord wants.

That farmer probably has no idea where his numbers are or what it will take for him to be profitable. He’s just thinking about trying to get ground, at any cost, with any landlord. And you’ll lose that land to him.

Preparing the landlord should go hand in hand with continuing to build the relationship and reminding him of the value that you have brought in the past.

How are you taking care of the ground to create value for the owner? What other things do you do for the landlord because of your relationship?

Strong employee relationships also help build farm success. As the farm leader, you know that leading and managing employees can bring some new stress into your role.

Have you ever asked an employee to do a task that you always used to do? You tell them how to do it.

You answer any questions they have. You feel like they have a good handle on what to do, so you leave them to do the job.

Later, when you see the results of their work, it isn’t anything like what you had intended or how you used to do it. You ask yourself: “What were they thinking? Were they listening to me at all?”

Personality differences can throw a curveball into the mix when we’re trying to get things done on the farm. This happens because we’re all wired differently.

What we say means different things to different people. Your employees hear your information differently, depending on whether their brains typically think in an abstract or concrete way.

Here’s an example. Did you have a meeting with your employees to prepare them for planting season? Afterward, you probably felt that you were very clear with them about your expectations and how you want things to be done.

But we all perceive things differently, and our perception becomes our reality. Your employees come out of the meeting each hearing your message slightly different because of the way their brain perceives it.

Knowing about the different personalities that are out there can give us an advantage as we work with employees. It can show us how we need to talk to each employee, depending on how that person processes information.

Being aware of these differences also shows us how to best motivate each employee. It makes the whole team on the farm work together better, becoming a more well-oiled machine.

The operation runs at its best when different personalities — with their different strengths — work together.

You probably cannot accomplish everything that you need to on the farm if you fly solo all the time. Working together, your team achieves much more than you could if you were working on your own.

Especially if you’re growing your farm, think about how to build strong leaders around you. Embrace the idea of building your team.