NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Agricultural Lease Agreements

agricultural lease agreements

Submitted by Craig Askim, Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources

It’s that time of year again when agricultural lease agreements start getting attention from the landowner and renter. What should or shouldn’t be listed in a lease agreement varies from lease to lease. However; below are some topics that landowners and renters should include in a written lease agreement.

1)     Exact payment/date period – Is it payable by the month, year, etc.?

2)     Length of lease – One year, three year, etc.

3)     Who is responsible for what? – This is pretty straight forward in a crop lease but a pasture lease is a little different. One example is when the fence breaks. Who fixes it? Who pays for it? What period of time can the cattle graze on the pasture, year long, two months, etc.?

4)     Understand who the renter and landowner is – What type of land stewardship management do both parties have? Do both parties agree with the management that will take place? This should all be clearly written into the lease agreement.

5)     Ask for financial background checks from loan agencies. Make sure there are no liens against either party.

6)     Keep communication open throughout the year. Both parties should be talking to each other so no surprises present themselves when payment dates come.

7)     Remember top dollar is not always the best option for either party. Past management and stewardship practices should be factored in.

8)      Have a death clause written into the agreement. What will happen if??

9)      Should have it written in the agreement that both parties have the option to review the agreement at least on a yearly basis.

A new agricultural lease website has been developed by the North Central Farm Management Extension Committee and is now available at http://www.aglease101.org/.

The information available on this website will be helpful to everyone; regardless if you are new to lease agreements or have had one for years. It features fixed and flexible cash rent, crop share rent, and pasture rental arrangement publications and leases for farms. There are samples of the different lease agreements.

Please remember every lease agreement has different factors to consider therefore; not one should be the same in content. One of the most frequent calls we get in our office deals with this topic.  I hope this website will be of assistance to you.

Finally, a lease agreement is a legal document that should be reviewed by the landowner and renter’s professional legal representative before any document is signed.

Until Next Time!


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