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New Resource for Conservation In Farm Leases

Ed Cox Jan. 24, 2017

cover crops infograpic

A new resource is available for landlord’s looking to incorporate cover crops and other conservation practices into their farm lease. Iowa Learning Farms, a part of Iowa State University Extension, just published a series of videos and print material that provide information about how landlords can begin conversations with their tenants about conservation practices.

Iowa State University Professor and Iowa Learning Farms advisor, Mark Licht, states,

“A large number of Iowa cropland acres are rented every year; nearly 50% according to recent surveys. These rented acres are greatly influenced by the tenant who farms them. Landowners are integral in the decision-making process: from leasing structure and understanding farming practices, to being considerate of practice costs and profitability. With emphasis being placed on nutrient loss reduction and practices ranging from in-field to land use changes, it’s imperative for landowners and tenants to have conversations about reaching production, profitability, and environmental goals. These conversations can lead to improvements of soil health and water quality, along with meeting productivity and profitability goals.”

The new resources address different conservation topics, including cover crops, no-till and strip-tillage, practices for removing nitrates, and land use changes, such as prairie strips, perennial cover, and extended crop rotations.

Communication between landlords and tenants is critical to a good landlord-tenant relationship and also a healthy farm with healthy soil. Its also to remember that such conversations should be reduced to writing in a farm lease contract. Landlords and tenants are often reluctant to put such practices into writing, but it allows both parties to ensure they completely understand one another and it protects the interests of both parties.

The resources are available on the Iowa Learning Farms website.