Farmer Articles

Leasing Farmland, A Comprehensive Buying Guide For the Beginner Farmer

Key Points:

  • Leasing farmland is crucial for beginning farmers to establish their businesses and make a livelihood.
  • Before signing a lease agreement, it’s important to consider factors such as soil quality, location, written lease terms, rental payments, land use restrictions, maintenance responsibilities, and insurance requirements.
  • Understanding the process of renting agricultural land can help farmers make informed decisions that support their long-term goals.
  • Grain marketing is another factor when renting agricultural land, as global market trends can influence crop profitability.
  • By evaluating these key elements and making informed decisions, beginning farmers can establish a stable foundation for growing crops and raising animals while ensuring their business’s success.


Leasing land to farmers is the act of renting out agricultural land to an individual or entity for a specified period, commonly referred to as the lessee. The lessor, or landowner, grants permission for the lessee to use the land in exchange for regular payments. This arrangement enables farmers and other agricultural businesses to access land without having to purchase it outright while providing landowners with a source of income. The length and terms of leases can vary depending on both parties needs.

Leasing farmland is crucial for starting a successful farm as it provides a stable foundation for growing crops, raising animals, and making a livelihood. It allows farmers access to resources they may not have had otherwise.

This article aims to guide readers on leasing farmland specifically for corn or soybeans by exploring its advantages, disadvantages, and important considerations before signing a lease agreement. Its goal is to help new farmers understand the process better so they can make informed decisions about leasing agricultural land.

This blog post will be divided into sections that cover different aspects of leasing farmland for corn or soybeans. By understanding these key elements, beginning farmers can make informed decisions that ensure their business’s success. Best of luck and happy farming!

Understanding the process of renting agricultural land

Factors to Consider:

When engaging in a farm lease, there are several factors that farmers and other potential lessees should consider before making a decision. Some of these factors include:

Soil quality: The quality of the soil on the land can have a significant impact on crop yields and overall profitability. Assessing the soil type, fertility, drainage, and other factors that could affect crop growth is vital.

Location: The location of the land can also impact its value and suitability for certain types of crops or livestock. Factors to consider include proximity to markets, transportation infrastructure, and availability of water resources.

Written lease terms: The length and terms of the lease agreement will vary depending on the lessor’s preferences and the lessee’s needs. Reviewing all aspects of the lease agreement carefully before signing it is important. While some parties may prefer an oral lease arrangement, we suggest approaching farm leases as most real estate contracts and specifying lease terms through a written contract. This may potentially avoid many conflicts in the future. Many local extension offices can provide you with sample leases to consult when considering a written contract.

Rental payments: Rental rates for agricultural land vary widely depending on location, soil quality, and other factors. Farmers should evaluate rental rates compared to their expected returns from farming operations.

Land use restrictions: Some agricultural properties may have restrictions on how they can be used due to zoning regulations or environmental considerations. Understanding any conditions or limitations is essential before entering into a lease agreement.

Maintenance responsibilities: Lessees may be responsible for maintaining the property during agricultural production, so it is crucial to clarify maintenance responsibilities with the lessor before signing a lease agreement.

Insurance requirements: Depending on the lease agreement terms, lessees may be required to carry liability insurance or other types of coverage while using the property.

By carefully considering these factors when renting agricultural land, farmers can make informed decisions that support their long-term goals and help them succeed in their farming operations.

Note: Another factor to consider when renting agricultural land is grain marketing. Grain marketing refers to selling crops at a profitable price, which supply and demand, weather conditions, and global market trends can influence. Therefore, farmers should evaluate the potential for grain marketing success in the location where they are considering renting land.

If you are looking to run a productive farm and need assistance from a professional grain marketing professional, please get in touch with us today at Also, we are farmers who have leased lands; thus, we can advise you based on our experience about what you should watch out for.

Finding available Farm Lease

  • Check online listings on websites like Land And Farm, LoopNet, and Craigslist.
  • Contact a local real estate agent who may have access to listings of available land for rent in the area.
  • Contact local agricultural organizations like farming cooperatives, land trusts, or your local USDA service center for information about available land for rent.
  • Check the classified section of your local newspaper.
  • Drive around rural areas and look for “For Rent” signs on properties.
  • Ask other farmers in the area if they know of any available land for rent.

Land lease agreement Between Buyer and Seller

Following the stage where you have decided on the leased land, it is your turn to sign the agreement with the landlord, the lessee.

In a land lease agreement between a buyer and seller, the terms agreed upon can vary depending on their specific needs and preferences. However, some standard terms should be considered to ensure a successful partnership. These include:

Rent: The amount paid by the tenant (farmer) to the landowner (seller) for land use. It can be a fixed amount or a percentage of crop yields and may be adjusted annually or at other intervals.

Lease Length: The duration of the lease can range from a few years to several decades. Longer leases offer more stability and investment potential, while shorter ones may be more flexible.

Payment Schedule: The timing and frequency of rent payments and any late fees or penalties for missed payments.

Use of Land: The permitted uses of the land, such as types of crops that can be grown, restrictions on livestock, limitations on certain ranch land areas (e.g., wetlands or conservation easements)

Maintenance and Repairs: Responsibilities for maintaining the land, buildings, and infrastructure. This includes routine upkeep as well as major repairs/improvements.

Access and Entry: Rights of both parties to access the land/infrastructure with restrictions on others (e.g., hunters or recreational users).

Termination/Renewal: Conditions under which the lease can be terminated (e.g., non-payment of rent or breach of lease terms), with options for renewal/extension and assignment of property taxes.

Insurance/Liability: Insurance requirements for both parties with provisions for liability/indemnification in case of accidents/injuries/incidents.

Besides the above, consider a crop share lease: An agreement between a landowner and a farmer where the landowner receives a percentage of the crops grown on their land instead of a fixed cash rent payment.

This type of farm lease can benefit both parties as it allows the landowner to share in the profits of the farming operation and provides the tenant with more flexibility in years when crop yields are lower. However, farm business arrangements such as crop share leases can be more complex than traditional cash rent leases and may require additional communication and cooperation between both parties.

Advantages of Renting Agricultural Land for Farming

If you’re considering starting a farm, you may wonder whether to buy or rent the land. Renting agricultural land can have several advantages over buying, including:

 Upfront Capital Cost Savings

Buying farmland can be expensive, requiring a significant upfront investment. By renting instead, you can save on these initial costs and use your available capital for other expenses such as equipment or seed. This is especially beneficial if you’re starting and need more investment money.

Access to Quality Land and Resources

When renting agricultural land, you can access high-quality land that may not be available for purchase. You also gain access to resources such as water rights, existing infrastructure (such as irrigation systems), and established relationships with suppliers and buyers. This can help you get your farm up and running more quickly and efficiently.

 Flexibility and Reduced Risk

Renting agricultural land provides flexibility in terms of location and size. You can rent only the amount of land you need at a given time rather than making a significant investment in property that may need to be fully utilized. Additionally, renting reduces your financial risk since you don’t have to worry about fluctuations in property values or unexpected maintenance costs.

Challenges of renting agricultural land for farming

Renting agricultural land for farming can come with several challenges. Here are some of the most significant ones:

Limited Control Over the Land

As a tenant farmer, you have limited control over the land you rent. You cannot permanently change the land or its infrastructure without your landlord’s permission. This can make implementing long-term improvements that could benefit your farm difficult.

Limited Long-Term Security

Most rental agreements for agricultural land are short-term, usually lasting only a few years. Planning and investing in long-term projects that could help your farm grow and prosper makes it challenging.

Potential Conflicts with Landlords and Neighbors

When renting agricultural land, conflicts with landlords and neighbors can arise. For example, if your landlord decides to sell the property or use it for a different purpose, you may be forced to move your operation elsewhere.

Grain Marketing for Tenant Farmers

Grain marketing is an essential aspect of any farming operation. As a tenant farmer, understanding grain marketing is crucial to maximizing profits. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Understanding Grain Marketing

Grain marketing involves selling crops at the right time and price to maximize profits. Therefore, understanding market trends and commodity prices are critical when deciding when and how much grain to sell.

Role of Crop Contracts in Grain Marketing

Crop contracts can provide tenant farmers with some security regarding grain marketing. These contracts outline the terms under which crops will be sold and can offer protection against price fluctuations.

Negotiating Grain Marketing Rights with Landlords

When renting agricultural land, negotiating grain marketing rights with landlords is essential. Clear communication about who has the authority to make decisions regarding crop sales can help avoid conflicts down the line.

Tips for successful renting of agricultural land for farming

Communication with landlords

To ensure success, farmers should prioritize effective communication with landlords, keeping meticulous records of all expenses related to the rented land, and implementing sound farm management practices. Open communication with landlords helps foster a positive working relationship and ensures everyone is on the same page regarding crop choices, property changes, and other important matters.

Record keeping

To ensure success, farmers should prioritize effective communication with landlords, keeping meticulous records of all expenses related to the rented land, and implementing sound farm management practices. Open communication with landlords helps foster a positive working relationship and ensures everyone is on the same page regarding crop choices, property changes, and other important matters.

Farm management practices

Finally, successful farm management practices are critical to a rented agricultural property’s long-term profitability and sustainability. Farmers should prioritize soil health by implementing sustainable farming practices such as cover cropping, conservation tillage methods, and nutrient management strategies while carefully planning crop rotations to maintain soil fertility and prevent disease buildup.


Leasing agricultural land is crucial for fledgling farmers seeking to establish farming enterprises. The practice provides a steady foundation for cultivating crops, raising livestock, and earning a livelihood.

Before entering into a farm lease agreement, farmers and potential lessees should consider several factors to make an informed decision. These include soil quality, location, written lease terms, rental payments, land use restrictions, maintenance responsibilities, and insurance requirements. Aspiring farmers can succeed in their farming operations by meticulously evaluating these factors and making informed decisions aligning with their long-term goals.

In addition to the above factors, grain marketing is another critical consideration when leasing agricultural land, as it can significantly impact profitability. Overall, renting farmland for corn or soybeans necessitates careful attention to various factors to guarantee long-term success.

The future outlook for renting agricultural land

Various factors, including economic conditions, technological advancements, and environmental concerns, influence the future outlook for renting agricultural land. Potential trends that may impact the market include:

  • Consolidation, driven by more prominent and capital-intensive farming operations.
  • Increased demand for sustainable and regenerative practices due to heightened consumer awareness of environmental impacts.
  • Advances in precision agriculture technologies may require high-quality land.
  • Zoning and land use regulations can affect availability and affordability.
  • Demographic changes such as urbanization may lead to pressure on agricultural land.

Despite these challenges, there are also opportunities for farmers and landowners to find mutually beneficial lease agreements that support sustainable and profitable farming operations.