“Handshake agreements” are common arrangements for leased farmland in our area. Rather than creating a written lease, the landowners and farmers have a conversation about terms, and leave it at that. Maybe the landowner is a long-time family friend, or perhaps the farmer is your neighbor – what could go wrong?
Though these informal arrangements are simple at the outset, without a written agreement reviewed by an attorney, both parties are at risk when unexpected circumstances arise. Disruptions in a lease can lead to detrimental loss of income for those who rely on leased land to make their farm viable.
As more farmers are unable to afford the rising cost of land, land may be leased not as a supplement to the farm’s production, but as the entire farm itself. For dairy and livestock farmers, the skyrocketing cost of feed means that cutting their own hay on leased land is the only way to afford feeding their animals. A written lease can help both the farmer and the landowner ensure they have shared expectations and goals, and protect both parties if unforeseen issues come up.
In partnership with Pace University Food and Beverage Law Clinic, CADE is excited to offer clients FREE 1:1 support with attorneys to review or create a lease for your farmland arrangement. This service is being offered on a first come, first served basis. Staff attorneys and Pace students can help with reviewing an existing lease, or can help write one from scratch.
Interested in receiving this free and limited service? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 9 for fall service, or January 6 for winter service. Or call 607-433-2545 ext. 8.
CADE offers a wide array of support to clients with land access needs, including connecting them with tools, resources, and local landowners interested in supporting the next generation of farmers. Visit www.cadefarms.org/landaccess for a library of resources and more information about CADE’s land access services to farmers and non farming landowners.
The Pace University Food and Beverage Law Clinic offers pro bono support to clients based on income thresholds. You will be asked to self-verify your income to participate in this program.