September 1 and Your Lease

An oldie but goodie post as Nebraska farmers approach September 1st:

There is evidence that in Nebraska, most farm leases are oral year-to-year leases.  This is important because Nebraska law governs how to terminate such leases and September 1 is a critical day should a landowner wish to terminate an oral lease.

First, the law:

The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a farm lease begins on March 1 for oral year-to-year leases.  To terminate an oral year-to-year lease, however, the Court has ruled that six months notice must be given prior to March 1.  In other words, to terminate an oral year-to-year lease, a notice to quit must be received by the tenant prior to September 1 of the preceding year.

Second, some examples:

Example 1:

The landowner as an oral year-to-year tenant.  Landowner decides she wants to terminate her lease with Tenant because she wants her nephew to rent the land beginning March 1, 2019. Landowner sends a letter to Tenant and Tenant receives it October 30, 2018.  Is the lease terminated so the nephew may rent it on March 1, 2019?

No, the lease is not terminated because an oral year-to-year lease requires a tenant to receive notice by September 1, 2018.  Here, Tenant received noticed from Landowner on October 30, 2018.  This means that Tenant may lease the farm land until August 31, 2019.

Example 2:

Same facts as above except now, Landowner sends a notice to quit to Tenant, which Tenant receives on August 30, 2018.  Is this lease terminated so the nephew may rent it on March 1, 2019?

Yes, the lease will terminate as of February 28, 2019.  Keep in mind the lease between Landowner and Tenant continues through February 28, 2019 but the Tenant has received a proper six months notice of termination, which is required under Nebraska law.

Third, some gotchas:

The above represent the default rules in Nebraska for termination of unwritten year-to-year leases.  The landowner and tenant can come to a mutual, voluntary agreement to modify the default rules.  Thus, if both the landowner and tenant agree, an unwritten year-to-year lease may end in June with 30 days notice.  The key is that there must be a mutual, voluntary agreement to do so.

If a landowner is terminating an unwritten year-to-year lease, it is advisable to do so with a letter and not in-person.  Additionally, it is best to send the notice to quit with time to spare from the September 1 deadline, as the tenant must receive the notice by September 1; it is not relevant when the landlord sends the notice.

Moreover, the above rules do not apply to written leases.  To terminate a written lease, the landowner and tenant must merely review what the lease states about termination and follow the lease provisions.

If you need clarification or just want to ask about dates and deadlines, you are welcome to contact us.  We’re happy to help farmers and ranchers (both landowner and tenant!).

September Farm Finance Clinic

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

  • Norfolk – Tuesday, September 4
  • Grand Island – Thursday, September 6
  • North Platte – Thursday, September 13
  • Fairbury – Friday, September 14
  • Norfolk – Tuesday, September 18
  • Lexington – Thursday, September 20

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline:  1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.

SCORE Workshops for Beginning Farmers

Three free workshops for beginning farmers will be available in the Omaha area through SCORE, USDA and FSA. The workshops are scheduled August 20, September 10, and September 17. Topics covered in each workshop will be:

  • Marketing/social media;
  • Bookkeeping/accounting;
  • Sales tax and general taxes; and
  • Loan/farm programs.

These programs are focused to help make your farm business more successful. To register, please go to Please see attached flyer below for more details.

Workshop Flyer 081418

Deadline Changes for NAP Crops

Nebraska’s alfalfa, grass, aronia and grape producers have a new deadline for applying for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance (NAP).  Nebraska Farm Service Agency revealed the new closing deadlines for some crops covered under this program for the 2019 growing season and beyond. The new deadlines to apply for 2019 coverage are:

  • Alfalfa and mixed forages: October 1, 2018;
  • Grass: November 15, 2018; and
  • Aronia berries and grapes: November 20, 2018.

Producers interested in receiving coverage through this program will need to contact their local FSA Office before the closing dates.

NAP offers coverage for producers who are not able to find insurance to cover crops if there are certain natural disaster affecting their growing season. This program covers certain disasters like hail, wind, drought, flooding and excessive heat among other events. There is a $250 fee per crop with county maximums. Beginning farmers along with traditionally undeserved farmers and ranchers are eligible to have this fee waived. To read more about this program, please read through our detailed article covering the program or contact us with questions.

CRP Enrollment Deadline Friday, August 17, 2018.

Friday, August 17th is the last day to enroll in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This program is for eligible producers who agree to take sensitive land out of production. In return, the producer will receive an annual rental payment and cost-share assistance for installing practices from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Land must be eligible and suitable for certain conservation practices which include, but not limited to, riparian buffer, wetland restoration on flood plain, filter strips, and grass waterways. Contracts for this program can last 10-15 years and payments will reflect the updated soil rental rates. For more information, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period. Or contact your local Farm Service Agency Office.

If you have any questions regarding various programs available from the Farm Service Agency, please send them to us.