Setting up an organic farm is not easy; it requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise. Unlike conventional farming, there are many technicalities to be taken care of as organic farming is a much specialized field in today’s agriculture scenario. But going systematically, the first step is obviously getting land to set up an organic farm and here too apart from the infrastructure and other physical factors, ensuring that all legal formalities have been taken care of is most important. And for this, it is essential that professional help is taking from lawyers who are reputed for Melbourne property conveyancing and can guide you on every aspect before you finally sign on the dotted line to acquire your parcel of land.
What then are the legal formalities that will need to be taken care of? There is a general misconception that conveyancing is all about pushing and processing paper documents but in reality it is much more. There are often many conditions and clauses that need to be adhered to before you can claim ownership of the land for organic farming.
The key to ownership is first ensuring that the last holder of the property has clear and marketable title to his land free of all encumbrances. It means that the title is clear and that there are no mortgages or loans that have been secured with the land as security. You also have to make sure that there are no cases in courts of law or disputes or litigation over that property. Your lawyer will search through previous records and advise you on purchase of that land.
The next step will be getting a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from the local authorities who will issue it after verifying their records. This is a specific document that details out the use the property can be put to. If agricultural, it will state so, if otherwise, it will provide information on the zoning of the property. Simultaneously, you should also have the plot of land valued by an approved individual who will give a certificate regarding the market value of the property. This will help you know the true worth of the piece of land and will be useful if you plan to purchase it with borrowings and funds from financial institutions. Such things are very complex in nature and your property lawyer will ensure that things go off smoothly for you.
Apart from all these basic legal formalities, things are slightly different if you are a foreign investor wishing to buy land for organic farming in Australia. First, any investment in agricultural land requires approval if the cumulative value of the total land holdings by the foreign person exceeds $15 million. The exception to this is for investors from Australia’s trade agreement partners. However, all acquisition of interest in agricultural land by foreign buyers has to be notified to the Australian Taxation Office Register of Foreign Ownership. The pointers that need to be followed here is to make sure that the investments meet the threshold test for agricultural land and that the land in question passes the definition for agricultural land.
These then are the legal formalities in a nutshell that must be followed for acquiring agricultural land for organic farming.