Farmers are known for handshake agreements based on people keeping their word, as well as a sense of trust and respect in the community. But, when it comes to farmland leasing, a little paperwork can prevent troubles further down the road and also enhance the quality of the relationship.

We have several resource that will help you understand why a written lease builds your legal resilience, while guiding you through steps to get your lease agreement in writing. Start with our free Agricultural Lease Agreement Basics which will provide you with key insights into how to begin lease discussions along with tips for negotiating terms that are most important to you. You can also listen to our free Podcast Episode Four: Write it Down! Farmland Leases (27min.), where we discuss the hows and whys of written leases.

If you’re ready to get into the details on what to include in your written lease, we have a tutorial for you. Watch or listen to our Farmland Leases Built to Last: Content and Legal Context (2hrs.).

Many folks turn to models and templates to help the writing process. At Farm Commons we emphasize good planning and conversation more than using a template, but we do have a model for adaptation. Browse our Long-Term Agroforestry Lease Workbook (73pgs.) and check out the model or template farmland lease. It’s fully annotated to help readers understand exactly why the lease is written as it is. The helpful narrative allows farmers and ranchers to understand how they might adapt the language to their unique circumstances. Don’t be turned off by the “agroforestry” title! It’s useful for everyone. For less detailed and un-annotated leases, we often turn to the templates offered by

For an interactive learning experience on your own schedule, take our self-paced course Developing Your Personalized Agricultural Lease. This self-paced course helps landlords and tenants develop a personalized agricultural lease by identifying key questions they need to address in negotiations.