Lease termination and updating conservation plans

Submitted by Sara Berges, Allamakee SWCD

If you are thinking of making any changes to your farm lease, the September 1 deadline to give notice of termination is quickly approaching.  If you do not give notice by September 1, your lease will auto-renew under the same terms and conditions as the original lease.  This applies to both written and oral leases and one-year and multi-year leases. Either the tenant or landlord can terminate a lease. Just because you terminate a lease does not necessarily mean that the landlord wants to get a new tenant. This may mean that they want to discuss the terms of the lease, including rent, and make adjustments.   

Iowa State University Extension has many tools available to help with the farm leasing process. You can stop by the local Extension office or check out their Ag Decision Maker website for more information. They have many great resources including fillable lease forms, lease termination forms, information on different ways to calculate rent, and their annual Farm Custom Rate Survey.

Now might be a good time to review your NRCS conservation plan(s) as well. If your land is coming out of CRP this fall, stop by the NRCS office or have your tenant stop by to update the conservation plan to the new rotation and tillage.

If there are any conservation practices you would like to explore, the first EQIP application deadline will likely be in October for work to be completed in 2020. You can sign an application to get your name added to our state cost-share list. We will likely be out of state funds until next summer, but the sooner you get your name on the list, the sooner your project can get funded.

If you update your conservation plan, consider adding it as an addendum to your farm lease. This is a way to ensure that the conservation plan gets reviewed with the tenant annually and that any conservation concerns can be discussed. If you have received cost-share for any practices, it is good practice to make note of their maintenance length on a map so that the tenant is aware that the practice needs to be maintained throughout the practice lifespan, even if the landowner will be doing the maintenance on the practice. Contact the Allamakee NRCS/SWCD office if you would like to discuss this further. We have example text that you can include in your lease agreement. You can also find information about this on the Allamakee SWCD website at

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