This is a popular time of year for both landowners and tenants to review, terminate or enter into leasing arrangements.
It is important that both parties to a farm or ranch lease understand the details of their lease agreement and the law that affect their lease. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of Kansas farmland and pastureland is rented.
Although producers are moving towards written leases, oral leases are still very common. It is important to remember that an oral agreement may be legally enforceable, but it is more desirable to spell out the agreement’s details in writing. A written lease is a contract and should be approached with the same careful thought and consideration given when entering into any binding contractual agreement.
Should a landowner wish to terminate a lease, it is imperative to be familiar with the requirements. For leases, except written leases signed by the parties that provide otherwise, Kansas law provides that notice to terminate farm and pastureland leases must be given as follows: (1) in writing, (2) at least 30 days prior to March 1, and (3) must fix March 1 as the termination date of the tenancy. Failure to comply with the previously mentioned items will be deemed inadequate, and the tenancy will continue. Pastureland leases must also be terminated in this manner except when the parties agree otherwise in writing.
An instance in which the termination notice may be effective but the termination date modified is in the case of land’s having been planted to a fall-seeded crop. The termination date will be the day after the fall-seeded crop is harvested or Aug. 1, whichever comes first.
The best way to serve notice of termination is probably by registered mail because the tenant must sign a receipt for the notice. If notice is given by mail, it must be done by registered or certified mail, and it’s important that the landowner keep the return receipt for proof of notice of termination.
Sample farm and pastureland leases are available from the Cowley County Extension Office and at www.agmanager.info/farmmgt/land/lease. Those resources will help you and your attorney draft a farm or pastureland lease that meet your needs and fulfill your expectations.
Upcoming dates and events for K-State Research and Extension Cowley County
Jan. 13 – Kansas Hay and Grazing Conference, Manhattan
Feb. 2 – KSU Swine Profitability Conference, Manhattan
Feb. 4 – KSU Dairy Day, Whiteside
Feb. 11 – Cowley County Conservation District Annual Meeting, Baden Square, Winfield
Feb. 13 – Cowley County 4-H Days, Winfield High School
March 5 – KSU Cattlemen’s Day, Manhattan
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.
Jill Zimmerman is the agriculture agent for Cowley County extension.