MISSOURI — Whether a producer is buying land for the first time or adding acreage, knowing where a property begins and ends can be a challenge.

To make things even more confusing, there is a host of legal information that accompanies property purchases.

KMZU’s Dan Watson spoke with Joseph Koenen, a University of Missouri Extension County Engagement Specialist with Agriculture and Natural Resources, to learn why property boundaries can become a heated topic among farmers and gain some clarification of the legal language associated with a land acquisition.

Click below to listen to their conversation, which aired Thursday on KMZU.


Photo: United States Department of Agriculture – NRCS

According to Koenen, one of the reasons that there are so many property disputes is because of how much a piece of land is worth.

“Right now, part of it is because land prices are higher than they’ve been in the past and that makes some difference. . .”

Some land deeds may indicate the number of acres purchased followed by ‘more or less.’ This is to accommodate for any per-existing features such as a road that may not count as part of the property itself.

“It is worded like that because it could have easements against it, like a gas or electric easement. . .” Koenen said, “it could have a road as part of that property, so instead of 200 acres, you might 198 or 197 because the road is part of that.”

The only way to claim a road as part of a farmland purchase is if the road has been legally shutdown.

“. . .and so even though its a road there, unless its been legally closed, that road still exists,” Koenen explained, “and so that’s not part of the actual property that you’re receiving or you’re buying.”

During the buying process, it is recommended that a producer have the land surveyed. While a survey will help to define the borders of a plot of land, it may not be affordable for many farmers.

“The biggest pro with a survey is it gives you a little bit better idea of where that property line is and that may be important for lots of things,” Koenen said, “probably the biggest con on some surveys is the price. Surveys are not cheap. . .”

For more information about farmland purchases and legalities, visit the University of Missouri Extension’s Agricultural business and policy website.