Know What’s Required Under a Farm Lease

A leasehold is an estate in real property. The law recognizes a leasehold as a right to the use and occupancy of real property for an agreed length of time. Typically a leasehold is created by signing a written lease agreement. The lease agreement will usually include terms such as a legal description of the property being leased, the amount of rent due, the timing of the rent payments, the responsibilities and duties of the landlord and the tentant, and the term of the lease.

Farmers and ranchers typically will lease property for a term of at least one year. It may take a year to prepare soil, plant a crop, fertilize, irrigate, and then harvest the crop. For a crop like alfalfa it will be common for a farmer to lease land for a term of several years since the initial investment of buying alfalfa seed and planting alfalfa is high.

The law recognizes that farmers and ranchers often hold over and continue to farm following the expiration of a lease.

When a farmer or rancher has possession of agricultural land and has retained possession of the land for more than sixty (60) days after his lease term has expired, and where the landlord has failed to demand possession or give notice to quit the property, the tentant is entitled to hold the property under the terms of the original lease for another full year.

This law protects a farmer tenant who may have completed fall work on the property anticipating that a new lease will be signed for the next year. It also protects the farmer tenant whose lease has expired, but who plants a crop in the fall anticipating a harvest the following summer.

A wise landlord will make sure that all leases are in writing, and will give written notice to quit at the conclusion of a lease term. An astute tenant will understand his rights before doing fall work or fall planting.