Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
UeNSaVOr
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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by UeNSaVOr »

Hello helpful people!

I'm in the final stages on closing on a house in rural Miyagi contingent upon the 農業員会 approving things. They decide once a month, apparently, and the loan company gave me a really tight deadline in which to wrap things up (probably because I don't have PR, but maybe that's normal). I have a ~20-page application to fill out, but after that, I'm not sure how these things work. Did anyone have in-person meetings or interviews? Just the form? I'm guessing it varies from place to place.

Thank you!

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by donguri »

You’re right in that it varies greatly from town to town.

We didn’t have any troubles getting certified and neither me or my husband had any agricultural experience. I had gumption, hopes and plans :D The previous owner helped us fill out the paperwork and some other town officials were in our corner, so
our case was approved without any formal interviews or meetings. One of the committee members came to meet us and drop off paperwork, he was helpful too.

Hope it works out for you!

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

As you both say it varies a lot from area to area, I've heard of places where they will straight up reject any applications from newcomers and then there are other areas where they will bend over backwards to help out.

If you don't know what they are like in the area you are thinking of it might be worth visiting the head of the association with some nice senbei or a case of beer if that seems appropriate or something similar and sounding them out. Nothing so expensive it looks like a bribe but something that is not too cheap either.

Although we never joined our Nougyo Inkai, they came around to us to see if we wanted to join but at the end of the day said it probably wasn't worth it for us as our land is sanrin rather than farmland but if we want to join them in the future give them a shout. In our city if you buy or rent 1,500 tsubo of farmland then you are automatically enrolled in the Nougyo Inkai by the city agricultural department and thus a registered farmer. So it might be worth going and having a chat with the city agricultural department, they can also tell you what the local Nougyo Inkai is like.

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by Logman »

UeNSaVOr wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2023 11:23 am
Hello helpful people!

I'm in the final stages on closing on a house in rural Miyagi contingent upon the 農業員会 approving things. They decide once a month, apparently, and the loan company gave me a really tight deadline in which to wrap things up (probably because I don't have PR, but maybe that's normal). I have a ~20-page application to fill out, but after that, I'm not sure how these things work. Did anyone have in-person meetings or interviews? Just the form? I'm guessing it varies from place to place.

Thank you!
Can't help on the Nougyo Inkai but I'm interested to hear how much farmland is attached to the property, what you are going to grow and how you plan to sell. Or do you not plan to farm commercially?

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by UeNSaVOr »

donguri wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2023 12:23 pm
You’re right in that it varies greatly from town to town.

We didn’t have any troubles getting certified and neither me or my husband had any agricultural experience. I had gumption, hopes and plans :D The previous owner helped us fill out the paperwork and some other town officials were in our corner, so
our case was approved without any formal interviews or meetings. One of the committee members came to meet us and drop off paperwork, he was helpful too.

Hope it works out for you!
That's us, more-or-less. I helped family with kitchen gardens (though both great-father's and my maternal grandfather farmed over an acre) and bailed hay in the fields, but that's it. Thank you!

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by UeNSaVOr »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2023 1:10 pm
As you both say it varies a lot from area to area, I've heard of places where they will straight up reject any applications from newcomers and then there are other areas where they will bend over backwards to help out.

If you don't know what they are like in the area you are thinking of it might be worth visiting the head of the association with some nice senbei or a case of beer if that seems appropriate or something similar and sounding them out. Nothing so expensive it looks like a bribe but something that is not too cheap either.

Although we never joined our Nougyo Inkai, they came around to us to see if we wanted to join but at the end of the day said it probably wasn't worth it for us as our land is sanrin rather than farmland but if we want to join them in the future give them a shout. In our city if you buy or rent 1,500 tsubo of farmland then you are automatically enrolled in the Nougyo Inkai by the city agricultural department and thus a registered farmer. So it might be worth going and having a chat with the city agricultural department, they can also tell you what the local Nougyo Inkai is like.
The house purchase requires the farming association's approval, so we don't have a choice here; if they don't approve, the whole thing falls apart. I like the senbei and beer part. Thanks for the input!

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by UeNSaVOr »

Logman wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2023 6:06 pm
Can't help on the Nougyo Inkai but I'm interested to hear how much farmland is attached to the property, what you are going to grow and how you plan to sell. Or do you not plan to farm commercially?
There is ~3000 m^2 that is not agricultural (house and a barn), and the ag-registered land is just over 5k m^2.

I have a feeling we have to (at least technically) be selling things. The language in the application mentions business and sales in multiple places.

For my family: sweet potato, potato, various beans, corn, onions, garlic, jalapenos, habaneros, and more. I have a whole spreadsheet I need to update to this property (last one I prepared for was in a different climate zone).

Commercially, I need to do market research in the area. We'd be 1 - 1.5 hours outside of Sendai in Miyagi. I plan on trying to do some intensive The-Market-Gardener-style work. He makes a ton off of things like microgreens for salads, but I doubt Sendai has that many restaurants that would be interested and then there's the whole thing of doing sales and getting our product known. I really don't have a plan yet, but plan on putting something together in the next couple of weeks.

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by UeNSaVOr »

I thought I'd follow this up.

The meeting with the 農業委員会 (I got it wrong in the title) took place in a meeting room in the village office. 4 guys around a table, one apparently in charge and three others. Asked some basic questions about what I wanted to grow, my experience, and where I planned to sell. I got a laugh out of them at one point, which I presume to be a good sign. One gave me a hearty "頑張ってください!" heading out, which made my wife and the real estate agent both think we did OK. I should know my fate by the end of next week.

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Best of luck with the decision, will have my fingers crossed for you 😀

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Advice for applying to the 農業員会 (farmer's association)

Post by gonbechan »

Best of luck @UeNSaVOr I really hope you get it soon.
Japanese tend to make decisions before year end, they dislike anything going over into the next year, let's hope this applies here.