You already understand the importance of having a written lease for your farm, but now the big question is: How do you actually create one? With so many options out there – hire a lawyer, go through an online legal service, use a random form on the internet, etc. – it can be very overwhelming to actually make this happen. Fortunately, Farm Commons has your back on this one.

Although we understand the allure, we don’t recommend going right to a form or template. We suggest starting with our free Checklist of Questions to Address in Your Farmland Lease. This powerful tool helps the leasing farmer and landowner get clear on the issues they need to discuss and come to agreement around. Use it with our free Sharing Responsibilities in a Farmland Lease Basics, which offers a starting point on allocating responsibilities between leasing farmer and landowner.

When everyone is on the same page about the details, we’re ready to write it down. A model lease can help guide that process. We have a model lease, annotated with helpful explanations throughout, in our Long-Term Agroforestry Lease Workbook (73pgs.). Now don’t let the “Agroforestry” name throw you off. This guide was written with agroforestry operations in mind simply because they have extra-complex legal mechanics. The model lease is very useful and easily adapted to any type of farm or ranch operation. This workbook also includes a checklist of issues to think about and discuss in the lead up to writing the lease, expanded for long-term scenarios.

We have a second lease template in our Incubator Farm Lease Toolbox which takes a bit more hands-on approach as is common when running a business incubator or subletting to other farmers. For less detailed and un-annotated leases, we often turn to the templates offered by