Advance notice required for farm lease terminations
By Noel Mues
UNL Extension Educator
There is considerable uncertainty regarding farm and pasture lease termination, especially how much notice is required if the landlord wants to lease the land to a new tenant.
Leases can be written or unwritten. Written farm leases generally terminate on the last day of the lease and aren't automatically renewed.
The majority of farm leases in Nebraska are unwritten. The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that six months' notice be given to terminate an unwritten farm lease. The farm lease year begins March 1. A landlord wanting to lease farmland to a new tenant must give notice to terminate the lease by the preceding Aug. 31.
The policy is especially important for tenants. If the landlord misses the date, the tenant gets the lease for another year. If the tenant would lose the lease at the last minute, it may be difficult to find new land right away.
However, the six months' notice policy does not apply to pasture leases in Nebraska. A 1955 Nebraska Supreme Court decision stated that pasture leases may be terminated without giving six months notice if the pasture lease is for less than 12 months. The pasture lease period in Nebraska generally is from May through October. If the pasture lease were for 12 months, six months notice of termination would be required.
Tenants should contact their landlords to make sure the pasture lease is going to be renewed. Otherwise, they may be surprised when their lease runs out and a new tenant takes over.