Agricultural Law for Iowa and Missouri

Farm Leases

farm sustainable practices

Conservation practices can be addressed in a written farm lease.

Whether you’re a farmer or a landowner, addressing conservation and sustainability in a farm lease can be a tricky subject. Tenants and landlords sometimes choose to ignore issues that they believe may create conflicts in the landlord-tenant relationship. This is particularly true with farm leases, which are often between neighbors, family members, and long-time friends. However, both parties do have an interest in ensuring the sustainability of the land, and discussing and including conservation provisions in a farm lease can be beneficial for both parties and the land.

This post is intended to provide an introduction to some key factors to consider when addressing conservation concerns, or sustainability, in a farm lease arrangement. Continue reading

farm leaseLike many states, Missouri law provides different rules in terminating a lease of agricultural land.  Farming operations require planning several months or more in advance. Recognizing this fact, state laws often require greater notice before a landlord cannot terminate the farm tenancy. The notice requirements in Missouri will, however, depend on the specific characteristics of the lease arrangement. Continue reading

Iowa Corn Residue

Iowa law gives farm lease tenants the right to remove crop residue, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

Farm leases are a special creature with several unique requirements that don’t apply to other leases. This is particularly true in Iowa.  A farm lease is a contract, but it is also a conveyance of a real property interest that transfer rights of possession and use. The extent of these rights, however, depends on the terms of the lease contract and on state law. In 2010, the Iowa legislature adopted Iowa Code Section 562.5A, a statute betowing ownership of any above-ground portion of a plant to farm tenants, unless the parties agreed to a different arrangement in writing. This includes corn-stalks, stover, or any other residue from the plant. The details of the Iowa crop residue law are examined in an earlier post. Continue reading

Iowa Missouri Deer

Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri contain some of the most prized whitetail deer hunting ground in the country. Whether you’re letting a neighbor, farm tenant, or a non-resident use your land for hunting, a written lease is crucial for protecting your rights on the property, ensuring quality deer management, and protecting yourself from liability and lawsuits.

This article discusses some of the basic provisions of a hunting lease as well as more in-depth issues that should be addressed by a lease with quality deer management as a priority. This article may not cover all of the needs of your particular situation and should not be construed as legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to ensure a hunting lease that addresses your specific priorities and protects you and the land. Continue reading

As most landowners and farmers are aware, Iowa’s farm lease termination statute, Iowa Code Section 562.5, requires written notice of termination of a farm lease by September 1. For most of the statute’s history it has only applied to leases involving more than 40 acres. In 2013 the Iowa legislature amended the law, making it applicable to nearly all farm leases, regardless of size. This amendment has received little press and many landowners and tenants may not be aware of this important change. Continue reading

The 2012 Iowa Legislature added a new provision to Iowa’s farm tenancy law. The Iowa Code gives tenants the right to remove any part of the above ground portion of a crop, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

Iowa Code Section 562.5A
“Unless otherwise agreed to in writing by a lessor and farm tenant, a farm tenant may take any part of the aboveground part of a plant associated with a crop, at the time of harvest or after the harvest, until the farm tenancy terminates as provided in this chapter.”

Commonly referred to as “crop residue,” the above ground portion of a crop may serve many purposes, including feed for livestock, ground cover to prevent erosion and retain moisture, and to add nutrients back to the soil. Removal and burning of crop residue is nothing new to agriculture. However, as ethanol production develops and facilities are able to process residue from corn stover and cobs, there may be an increase in the price for such residue. Landowners should understand the economic value of crop residue both on and off the farm and take steps to clarify the rights of both landlord and tenant in relation to removal of residue.

The simplest way to address this issue is to simply include language specifying the rights of both parties in a written lease contract.