Crop Ground Rental Contracts and Strategies


Many landowners purchase farms with a return on investment as one of their objectives. Some choose to grow crops or run livestock themselves, but the majority often cash rent the acreage to a local farmer. Benefits to leasing your land for farming include:

  • Land management that meets your stewardship goals
  • Annual revenue
  • Providing opportunity to a beginning farmer
  • Keeping your landscape open and in production

Lease agreements range from annual to multi-year contracts, flexible cash rent, and sharecropping. Each has advantages and disadvantages. You can find publications showing different types of lease agreements and sample lease agreements on the MU Extension website.

MU Extension also employs farm management specialists who can advise and help you prepare contracts. To find the specialist for your area, contact your local county MU Extension office.

Other options:

  • Use a short-term cropping contract to help meet resource objectives, such as invasive-species eradication, old-field reclamation, and cool-season-to-warm-season grass conversions. Cropping these problem areas for two or three years might save you money. 
  • Trade or offer your renter a reduced rate for installation or completion of other habitat practices, such as food plots, seeding warm-season grass, or woody cover control.