If you are an Institutional Member delivering this curriculum for an in-person audience, please email Eva at eva@farmcommons.org for the Facilitation Packet.

If you’re ready to identify lease terms that work best for you and your farm or ranch business then this course is for you.

This is an approximately 2-hour self-paced course that will help you develop a strategy for negotiating leasing terms that prioritize the unique interests, needs, and goals of your farm or ranch business. Throughout the lessons, we cover the difference between verbal and written leases and walk you through key points of negotiation to help you identify which points are of top priority for you to address in your agricultural lease. Afterwards, you will be well positioned to develop a personalized lease that is more legally resilient.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will:

  1. Understand the full breadth of questions and contingencies a robust and resilient agricultural lease agreement might address.
  2. Identify which questions are relevant to your circumstances, and
  3. Identify which questions you already have an answer for versus which need discussion and consensus between landlord and tenant.

As a result, you will determine which points of negotiation are a priority to discuss with the landlord in order to update or create your lease agreement.

What is included in this course?

This course includes four lessons featuring illuminating video presentations, insightful readings, reflective quizzes, and action-planning exercises. At the end of the course, we include further resources for moving forward. Access the course materials at any time using your active Farm Commons member account.

Here’s an overview of the lessons you’ll work through:

Lesson 1: Getting Started

  • Get familiar with the basics of a lease.
  • What exactly is a lease, legally speaking? – In this video, you will explore the different types of leases and learn which are the most legally resilient.

Lesson 2: Building Resilience with Leases

  • Get familiar with the importance of developing a written lease.
  • Be thorough; don’t let state laws decide for you! – In this video, you’ll learn what can happen if a customized written lease isn’t created.
  • Inherent imbalance of power – Explore how power imbalance impacts leasing relationships.
  • Spelling out roles and responsibilities – Get familiar with how to protect yourself by determining clear roles and responsibilities in your lease.

Lesson 3: Discussions Build a Lease

  • Get familiar with how and why discussions are fundamental to lease development.
  • What Should We Discuss? – Identify what points should be covered in your lease and review instructions on developing your lease with the next set of interactive videos.
  • The Basics – In this video, you will begin developing your lease by answering seven basic lease questions.
  • What rights does the lease grant to the farmer? – In this video, you will answer seven questions about the rights the lease grants to the farmer tenant.

Lesson 4: Digging into the Details

  • Get familiar with the next set of lease questions.
  • Production-Related Issues and Facilities Questions – In this video, you will tackle 11 questions about production-related issues and facility usage.
  • Renewal, Communication, and Transfer of Lease – In this video, you will answer seven questions about lease renewal, communication between parties, and lease transfer.
  • Other Considerations – Explore additional critical questions about insurance, zoning, long-term improvements, and “right of first refusal” that you may want to include in your lease.

Course requirements

  • Active Farm Commons membership
  • Broadband internet connection with a minimum speed of 5Mbps (recommended)
  • Desktop browser: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge
  • Mobile browser: iOS Safari, Chrome, Samsung Internet

Note: The course platform is not supported on Internet Explorer, Chromium, and Linux web browsers. You will see an error message if attempting to access the course on these browsers.

This course is suitable for farmers and ranchers with any business experience. However, those with at least one year of experience who are able to conduct an assessment of their business and work through tangible assignments to improve current risk management systems will benefit most from this course.

This workshop is FREE for our Producer Members, Legal Professional Members and Institutional Members. Already a member? Click "log in" above to register for free. Not a member yet? Get access to this workshop, our extensive library of guides/model documents, and ask your questions on our Commons Community with a Producer Membership.  Join us by clicking here!