Adding the Costs of Conservation to a Farm Lease

November 07, 2019
 


Farmers and landowners alike are wanting to try more conservation practices. Todd Gleason reports the timing and amount of nitrogen applications along with the use of cover crops can all be written into a farm lease.

farmdoc farm lease page link

(1) Soil Health and Conservation Addendum

The Soil Health and Conservation Addendum is for a landowner who seeks to reach clear understanding with the farm-tenant about practices on the land under lease. The addendum is a fillable pdf and the parties can negotiate the specific provisions to include in the addendum, memorializing the agreement by selecting the specific provisions. The provisions and fillable pdf are designed to be additive: each selected provision will be incorporated in the lease agreement.
Included among the provisions that can be selected are those for tillage practices and cover crop practices. There are also specific provisions pertaining to other conservation efforts that may be present on the farmland, such as ditches, vegetative buffers, terraces or other erosion control measures. The addendum also includes general options that address soil health and conservation efforts for the farmland. Finally, the addendum provides options for the parties to agree to adjustments in the annual rent based on the provisions for soil health and conservation selected above. All of these are only options and the parties are free to adjust or revise the provisions as they consider best and all are again advised to discuss with legal counsel before completing.


(2) Nutrient Management Addendum

Similarly, the Nutrient Management Addendum is a fillable pdf that provides for selecting basic provisions that can be incorporated into any lease. Among the options are those pertaining to adherence to the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) for nutrient application on the land subject to the lease, as well as for requiring specific application practices such as split application. Options also include for soil testing, adoption of nutrient management plans and the application of manure, such as an agreement to avoid application on frozen ground.
This addendum also provides options for the parties to agree to adjustments in the annual rent based on the provisions for soil health and conservation selected above. All of these are only options and the parties are free to adjust or revise the provisions as they consider best and all are again advised to discuss with legal counsel before completing.


(3) Conservation Habitat Addendum

This addendum provides specific options pertaining to wildlife habitat on the farmland that is subject to the underlying lease. This addendum provides for general descriptions of the critical area and options for agreeing to basic maintenance or integrated pest management practices. The addendum also provides space for the parties to agree to any adjustments to the rent due to the conservation habitat on the farmland subject to the lease. Again, these options create or alter legal rights and both the landowner and the farm-tenant are advised to consult with their respective legal counsel before completing the addendum.