Farmland Rental Agreements
There are three issues that I most often hear related to landlord/tenant disagreements:
1) Fence Maintenance
2) Pasture Mowing / Weed Control
3) Barn/Shed/Facility maintenance
For Fence maintenance, in most cases I recommend the landlord should provide materials and the tenant labor for fence maintenance. I recommend the owner arrive at a set dollar amount they are willing to spend on fence materials each year and communicate that with the tenant. I believe the maintenance of fences is the biggest issue facing landlords and farmer-tenants. I recommend the landlord purchase fence materials because, generally, fences are an asset with a 10 – 20 year life and rarely are tenants assured of having use a farm for that long a period of time.
I do not recommend the landlord try to specify a specific weed spraying or fertility regimen. Generally, the landlord is happy so long as the pastures and hayfields are mowed at least once per year. The landlord may want to specify that the entire farm be mowed or harvested by a particular date each year.
Landlord and tenant need to ride over the farm and inspect the facilities carefully at least once per year. Insurance needs to be discussed and the difference between building maintenance (ex. wind blowing-off tin) and building damage (ex. tractor running into support beam) needs to be delineated.
These are just a few personal observations of land rental relationships. See the attached documents for sample leases and additional information. Give me a call (either the Rockbridge or Augusta Extension Offices) or email if you have questions.
Extension Agent, Farm Business Management