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Sept. 1 is land lease deadline

Summer is a good time to think about cropland rental agreements for the coming year. By law in Iowa, if you wish to terminate your rental arrangement or want to change the terms in your current farmland lease, and the lease or agreement involves 40 acres or more, notice must be given to the other party by Sept. 1.

For example, if you want to renegotiate your cash rent for 2011, or any other terms, you have to serve the termination notice on or before Sept. 1, 2010. This applies whether it is a written lease or an oral agreement.

Of course, a farmland lease or rental agreement can be terminated or modified at any time of year as long as such changes are acceptable to the landlord and tenant, and they both agree to the changes. “However, if the current lease or agreement isn’t terminated by Sept. 1, keep in mind that it automatically renews for another year on the same terms and conditions of the existing lease or agreement,” points out Steve Johnson, an Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist.

Key Points

• To legally terminate a lease for 2011, you must serve notice by Sept. 1, 2010.

• This is the law in Iowa, whether you have a written lease or an oral agreement.

• A lease can be modified or terminated any time if both tenant and landlord agree.

If notice to terminate is served on or before Sept. 1, then the lease terminates the following March 1. “It’s best to serve that notice in writing, and obtain the other party’s signature and the date confirming receipt of the notice,” says Johnson. “If necessary, you should consider using certified mail to prove receipt of the delivery of your notice prior to the Sept. 1 deadline.”

Farmland leasing information

If you are thinking of terminating or renegotiating your cropland rental agreement or lease, ISU Extension has helpful information online as well as in various publications and spreadsheets. The website for farmland leasing information is www.extension.

Information and cropland leasing resources available on the ISU Ag Decision Maker site include:

Leasing Publications. Iowa Farmland Cash Rental Rate Survey (ISU) C2-10; Iowa Farmland Rental Rates (USDA) C2-09; Historic County Cropland Rental Rates C2-11; Do I need a written lease? C2-03; Computing a Cropland Cash Rental Rate C2-20; Flexible Farm Lease Agreements C2-21; Crop-Share Leasing Provisions C2-30

Leasing Forms. Iowa Farm Lease Form C2-12; Iowa Cash Rent Farm Lease (short form) C2-16; Midwest Plan Service Lease Forms; Iowa Farm Lease Termination Notice (Iowa Bar)

Related Publications. Estimated Cost of Crop Production A1-20; Iowa Farmland Legal Descriptions C2-85; Understanding Iowa Corn Suitability Ratings C2-86; Computing the Iowa Corn Suitability Rating for your Farm C2-87; Economics of Tiling C2-90

Source: ISU Extension

This article published in the August, 2010 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

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