Allamakee SWCD offers tips on how to include a conservation plan in land leases

The first step to including conservation in a farm lease is to have a written lease. If you do not currently have a written lease, you can talk to an attorney or utilize one of the forms found online at or Once you have a written lease, you can either write conservation provisions directly into your lease or include a provision that requires adherence to a third-party (such as NRCS) conservation plan. Examples of conservation provisions can be found at An example of a provision that requires following an NRCS conservation plan can be found at
If a tenant is required to install or maintain specific conservation practices, it is important to include a map showing where those practices are located. If you would like to get a map that shows these practices, contact the Allamakee SWCD.
Allamakee SWCD encourages landowners to attach their NRCS Conservation Plan and plan map to their farm leases.  If you have not reviewed your conservation plan recently, now is a good time to do so. Many plans have not been updated since they were initially written in the late 1980s or early 1990s. If you have a different renter, they may not be following the same planned rotation and tillage. Older plans are still valid, even if your current renter did not sign them, but Allamakee SWCD advises landowners/renters to review the plans and revise them to the current rotation and tillage.  
There are many reasons to include conservation in a farm lease. Written lease terms regarding conservation allow decisions to be made before potential problems arise. It also encourages open discussion between landowners and renters about their goals and priorities for the land.  Landowners have the power to determine how they want their land to be farmed. By writing conservation into a lease, the landowner has greater ability to enforce conservation compliance on their land. Renters can also benefit because the landowner becomes more aware of the renter’s conservation efforts and may even be willing to reduce rent on acres in grass waterways, headlands, or buffers to encourage that they be maintained.
 If you would like to discuss how you can include conservation in your farm lease, contact Sara Berges at the Allamakee SWCD by calling 563-568-2246 ext. 3, emailing or stopping by the office at 635 9th St. NW in Waukon.