Legal-Ease: Should my farm lease be in writing?

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Crop yields in recent years have made farmland leases a necessity for a responsible farmer. While these leases should be in writing, some states (including Ohio) accept verbal leases.

When a lease isn’t in writing and on record at the county courthouse, people other than the tenant and landlord may not be required to honor the lease.

There is also an Ohio law that requires any farmland leases longer than three years to be notarized and recorded at the county courthouse.

The downsides of a verbal lease can be misunderstanding the expectations on either side, or forgetting certain aspects of the agreement. A simple, detailed farm lease document is ultimately helpful to all those involved.

Record crop yields over the last few years, coupled with rather impressive commodity prices in 2011 and 2012, have made many farmland leases more important than ever. In many instances, good farmland leases can be some of the most valuable assets a farmer possesses.

All farmland leases should be in writing. However, verbal farmland leases are enforceable in Ohio.

Read Lee’s full article regarding farm leases in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Should my farm lease be in writing?

Source:, Legal-Ease: Should my farm lease be in writing?, by Lee R. Schroeder, February 7, 2014.

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