County Ag News

Importance of Written Leases

In agriculture today more and more farmers are renting land owned by others as a way of securing sufficient land to operate efficiently. All businesses including a farm business makes long term business decisions based on size of operation. Investments in equipment are made based on estimated use based on a given farm size. Investments in capital equipment need to be made based on the knowledge that the size of a farm operation will remain sufficient to justify that investment. It has long been a custom for farmers to operate with simply verbal agreements. 

The old adage that a person’s word was as good as his name may not be the best way to operate in our world today. A large portion of land today may be owned by absentee landowners or by people who have no agricultural background. The increased challenge of operating a business profitably has resulted in many cases where the potential for additional income from a higher offer for rent has caused a landowner to ignore an earlier verbal agreement with someone else. 

This area of the state poses some unique challenges for those who might want to operate only through the use of verbal contracts. There are a number of farms that are very low in pH and nutrient levels which may require a large outlay of dollars for lime and the extra fertilizer that may be required to bring the soil test levels up to an optimum level. The cost of lime alone could be over $100 per acre.

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