speaks at the Lawrence County Soils and Crops Conference The best of intentions will not prevent problems if land is rented on a verbal contract, said University of Missouri Extension specialist Wesley Tucker at the Lawrence County Soils and Crops Conference.
The only rule for leasing land is most rules don't apply, beyond common law and custom.A good deal will benefit both parties.He
encouraged looking beyond the obvious to protect against the unforeseen.
Typical farm rent agreements will be made over sharing the crop grown there, or taking a portion of the livestock grazing there.Cash rentals are done but less frequently.A fair split will stack up the value of the land, labor, machinery, seed and fertilizer and try to come up with an equitable balance.In a cash rental, the property owner must determine a dollar value to having a water supply, fences, the quality of forage, the size of the land involved, and improvements made on it.
In southwest Missouri, Tucker
has found typical rents for pasture run at $28 an acre on improved land, or $22 an acre for unimproved land.The average statewide is $26 for improved land, though it can range from $5 to $50.Also popular is charging per cow or calf per month, which averages around the state at $6.79 per head.A good barn rental rate would be 25 to 50 cents per square foot.
Oral and verbal leases can be binding on heirs or new owners, if what was said can be determined.Relatives can't testify to agreements to which they were not a party, Tucker
said.If agreements have no termination date, the anniversary or lease date will be considered the stopping point, not when possession of the land occurred.
In southwest Missouri, it has not been typical for renters to put much of anything back into the land they use.In row crop country, mutual agreements on fertilizing are more critical, Tucker
said, to sustain the land's productivity.Generally, the landowner remains obligated for basic fertility, and the renter addresses annual needs.
One of the many points not obvious in verbal or oral agreements, Tucker
warned, is renters have the authority under Missouri law to sublease without the owner's permission.Preventing that must be done in writing.Special agreements, such as accepting construction of a fence in return for rent or free barn use for mowing weeds, also needs to be put in writing. Tucker
had copies of written lease agreements available for those wanting a model.Copies are available by writing to him at the University Extension office, PO Box 187, Hermitage MO 65668, or by calling him at 417/745-6767.
Hearing interest in the new state fence law, Tucker
agreed to put a program together on it for a future presentation.