Farm Talk

October 23, 2012

Understanding the importance of land leases

by Whitney Wiegel
CNHI

— Land leases are an important part of agriculture in Missouri. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, approximately one-third of Missouri’s agricultural land is farmed using lease agreements. This means that about 10 million acres of Missouri’s row-crop, hay, and pasture land are owned by someone other than the person actively farming the land. This situation gives rise to the importance of landowner-tenant relationships for Missouri’s agricultural economy, environmental health, and social wellbeing of rural citizens. Because lease contracts govern the relationships under which a large portion of Missouri’s land is managed, they play a significant role in (1) determining the financial outcome of farming operations (2) providing for conservation of the state’s natural resources, and (3) securing social relationships between neighbors, farmers, and other rural stakeholders. Given the scale of Missouri’s land tenure situation and agriculture’s position as the state’s leading economic sector, it is apparent that lease contracts play a critical role in Missouri’s rural economy.

In order to enhance landowner-tenant relationships and improve the land tenure situation in the state, University of Missouri Extension offers educational opportunities that increase people’s awareness and understanding of land lease agreements. There are numerous provisions and legal factors to consider as part of a lease contract. University of Missouri Extension helps landowners and tenants make sense of the legalities of leases, and it fosters the development of lease agreements that meet landowners’ and tenants’ goals while preserving the environmental integrity of Missouri’s land base.

There are two upcoming opportunities for individuals to participate in an MU Extension educational event that is focused on agricultural land leases. Whitney Wiegel, Agricultural Business Specialist with MU Extension will host two Ag Land Lease Seminars this fall. The first seminar will be held October 23 at the Cass Career Center in Harrisonville, Mo. The second will be held November 14 at the Platte County Resource Center located just east of I-29, near Kansas City International Airport. Both seminars will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature the same speaker, presentations, and information. Participants in these seminars will receive information, materials, and advice regarding land lease provisions, cash rental rates, alternative lease structures, and other aspects of land leases. Individuals who would like to attend one of the seminars should call the county Extension center responsible for organizing the respective seminars.--Cass County Extension Center (816) 380-8460; Platte County Extension Center (816) 270-2141.

For more information, contact specialist’s name, number, e-mail or visit your local Extension Center or extension.missouri. edu.£