Agricultural Leases


The agriculture sector relies heavily on leases to fulfill different needs.  With absentee ownership of farmland growing in the United States, farmers and ranchers lease many of the acres they farm and graze today.  Private parties can grant these leases of land, or in some cases state governments or the federal government may grant a “grazing permit” for a rancher to use public lands for grazing.  Farmers or ranchers may also lease the equipment needed in their operations.  Read the full overview.

Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Alaska Livestock Grazing Act, 43 U.S.C. §§ 316-316o

Leasing, Sale, or Surrender of Allotted or Unallotted Lands, 25 U.S.C. §§ 391-416j

Taylor Grazing Act, 43 U.S.C. §§ 315 – 315m, – 315n – 315r

Pierce Act, 43 U.S.C. §§ 315m-1 – 315m-4


Leases and Permits; General Provisions, 25 C.F.R. §§ 162.001 – 162.029

Leases and Permits; Agricultural Leases, 25 C.F.R. §§ 162.101 – 162.256

Grazing Permits, 25 C.F.R. §§ 166.1 – 166.1001

Grazing Administration-Exclusive of Alaska, 43 C.F.R. §§ 4100.0-1 – 4190.1

Grazing Administration; Alaska; Livestock, 43 C.F.R. § 4200.1

Grazing Administration; Leases, 43 C.F.R. §§ 4600.0-2 – 4610.5

Federal Regulations Open for Comment

Case Law

Case Law Index for Agricultural Leases

Center Research Publications

States’ “Fence Law” Statutes (R. Rumley)

Wind Energy Leasing Handbook — Workbook (Ferrell and R. Rumley)

Agricultural Contracting (R. Rumley)

Using Alternative Enterprises and Recreational Development to Bolster Farm Income — Workbook (R. Rumley & Tullos)

Bull Leasing Contracts (R. Rumley)

Written Sugarcane Leases: Protecting the Interests of the Farmer and Landowner (R. Rumley & Thomas)

Agricultural Contracts and the Leasing of Land – PowerPoint Presentation (R. Rumley)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Public Lands

Agricultural Law Bibliography

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Legal publications on Agricultural Leases:

Leases, Landlord-Tenant

Public Lands

Reference Resources

Bureau of Land Management

History of Livestock Grazing on Public Lands

Services Overview

Livestock Grazing

BLM Handbooks

Federal Land Records

BLM Electronic Forms

National Agricultural Statistics Service

Grazing Fee Statistics

Agricultural Prices (January, 2018)

Land Values and Cash Rents

National Resources Conservation Services

Grazing Land

U.S. Forest Service

Final Permitted Livestock Grazing Report (February, 2017)

Forest Service Publications


A Landowner’s Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing (Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic)

Leasing Farmland in New Jersey: A Guide for Landowners and Farmers (N.J. State Agriculture Development Committee, 2013)

The Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing (Drake U. 2010)

The Law of Wind: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues (Stoel Rives LLP 2009)

Farm Management: Leasing (Kan. St. U. 2018)

Kansas County-Level Cash Rents for Non-Irrigated Cropland (Kan. St. U. 2018)

Farm Lease Calculator (updated 2015) (U. of NE 20151)

Land Rental Rates (Kansas State Univ., 2018)

Farm Lease Calculator (U. of NE 2011)

Iowa Farm Leases – Legal Economic, and Tax Considerations (IA St. U. 2014)

Lease Alternatives for CRP Land (IA St. U. 2009)

Farm Lease Termination (U. of NE 2008)

Farmers’ Guide to Wind Energy:  Legal Issues in Farming the Wind (FLAG, Inc. 2007)

Negotiating Wind Energy Property Agreements (FLAG, Inc. 2007)

The Hunters’ Guide to a Successful Hunt Lease (U. of Tenn. 2002)

Cattle Lease Checklist (U. of NE 2006)

Improving Your Farm Lease Contract (IA St. U. 2003)

Fee Hunting: Opportunities for Farmers and Rural Landowners (U. of Illinois Extension 2007)

Leasing Publications (ND St. U.)

Figuring Rent for Existing Farm Building (Purdue U. 1989)

South Dakota’s Rental Agreements: What is a Legal Lease? (SD St. U. Ext., 2010)

Factsheets on Agricultural Leasing (OK St. U. Ext)

Commercial Agriculture: Farmland Information (Leasing, Crop-Share, Cash Rent, Farmland Valuation)(U. of IL Ext)

Wind Lease Publications (wIndustry)

Publications on Agricultural Leasing (U. of MO Ext.)

Crop Share, Cash & Flexible Lease Software (MT St. U.1997)

Fixed-Cash Crop Lease Agreements (CO St. U.)

Flexible Cash Leasing of Cropland (U. of NE. Ext.)

Additional Resources

“Who’s That in my Pasture?” (Doggett, 2018)

Lessons Learned in Eminent Domain (Ross, 2018)

Farm and Ranch Leases (Lashmet & Ferrell, 2018)

Easements 101 (Conoly, 2018)

A Place in the Sun: Solar Leases in Texas (Wetsel, Allen, & Lederle, 2018)

Ag Lease 101 (North Central Farm Management Extension Committee)

Grazing Leasing and Liability (Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association)

Using Alternative Enterprises to Bolster Farm Incomes, (Tullos, Rumley)

Building on the Business Concept and Incorporating the Wildlife Lease as Your Profit Tool  (Tullos, Rumley)

Agricultural Leases Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

The Texas Deer Lease (Texas A&M 2016)

Owning and Leasing Agriculture Real Estate (Penn. St. Ext.)

A Landowner’s Guide to Leasing Land for Farming (Land for Good 2012)

Farm Leases and Rents (U. of CA – Small Farm Program)

Farm Lease Agreement (U. of MO Ext.)

Farm Land Rental Agreements and Arrangements (Michigan St. U. Ext.)

Livestock Grazing on Public Lands (Bureau of Land Management)

Grazing Leases (MT. St. U. Ext)

New Mexico State Land Office

Public Lands Foundation

Whole Farm Decisions – Leasing (IA St. U.)