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Types of Agricultural Land Leases

Updated: Apr 16

photograph of a sunrise over cropland

Are you interested in leasing your agricultural land, but unsure of how it works? There are many different types of agricultural land lease agreements, each with pros and cons. Understanding the different types of agricultural lease agreements can help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you. In this guide, we will explore some common types of agricultural land lease agreements and the potential pros and cons of each.

Cash Rent Leases

In a conventional cash rent lease agreement, the tenant pays a fixed amount to the landowner for farming the land throughout the year. This predetermined amount remains unchanged regardless of the crop yield. This type of lease places certain economic risks on the tenant, while ensuring the landowner a consistent return, regardless of commodity prices. However, you will face the risk of non-payment of rent, or the tenant implementing short-term farming practices that may deplete the land's long-term health and productivity.

Advantages of Cash Rent Leases

Cash rent leases are relatively low-risk for the landowner, and they guarantee a consistent return. In a cash rent lease, the tenant assumes all risks associated with crop yield and production. For example, if the crops do not perform well or commodity prices are low at harvest time, then the tenant faces this profit loss.

Additionally, unless you specifically outline any requirements or restrictions in the lease agreement, the tenant has the freedom to make all of the major farming decisions. For landowners that do not want to be burdened by the time and capital that is required for involvement in farming practices, a cash rent lease may be a great option.

Disadvantages of Cash Rent Leases

A disadvantage of cash rent leases is the risk that the tenant does not pay their lease payments on time. Additionally, if the crops that the tenant grows perform well at harvest time, then the tenant receives all of the profits that come above the amount of their lease payments- none of this profit is shared with the landowner. Another potential disadvantage of cash rent leases is that the tenant may implement short-term farming practices that deplete the overall health of your land. However, you can negotiate terms that limit exposure to these risks. For instance, you can include terms that specify the type of farming practices that can be used to minimize potential impacts to your land.

Crop Share Lease

Crop share lease agreements are the opposite of cash rent lease agreements. Instead of a fixed cash rent payment, the tenant pays the landowner a negotiable percentage of the crop value at the end of the season. In a typical crop share lease, the landowner provides the land, improvements, associated property expenses, and a portion of the variable costs. The tenant, on the other hand, contributes machinery, associated equipment expenses, and a portion of the variable costs.

Advantages of Crop Share Leases

A crop share lease allows you to benefit if commodity prices or production increases while sharing operation costs. Additionally, you have more control and input over the farming practices than you would with a cash rent lease.

Disadvantages of Crop Share Leases

This type of lease exposes you to more risk, and it also requires that you make capital contributions. Additionally, if the commodity prices for the crops are low at harvest time, both you and the tenant experience the profit loss. Negotiating and coming to an agreement with the tenant regarding farming practices can also be considered a disadvantage of this type of lease.

Hybrid Lease

As the name implies, a hybrid lease combines elements of a cash rent lease and a crop share lease. In this type of lease, the tenant may pay a fixed cash rent amount (typically a lower amount than in a cash rental agreement) along with a percentage of the crop proceeds, or they may pay a cash bonus if the gross value of the crop exceeds a predetermined amount.

Advantages of Hybrid Leases

A hybrid lease combines the benefits of both cash rent and crop share leases, providing you with a consistent return while also allowing you to share in any profit increases. This type of lease can also help mitigate some of the risk associated with a crop-share lease, as a portion of the rent payment is fixed.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Leases

Negotiating and agreeing upon the terms of a hybrid lease can be more complicated than other types of leases, as there are multiple factors (cash rent, percentage of crop value, etc.) that need to be agreed upon. Additionally, this type of lease may not provide as much control over farming practices as a crop-share lease would.

How can I lease agricultural land?

Ultimately, the best type of agricultural land lease agreement for you will depend on your specific goals and priorities as a landowner. It is important to carefully consider and negotiate the terms of any lease agreement, regardless of the type. Consulting with legal and financial professionals can also help ensure that you make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals for your land.

If you're interested in leasing your agricultural land, consider creating a listing on LandGate's open marketplace. It is completely free- we do not charge any fees or commissions. It starts by generating your free property report on our map below:


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