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Leases and Farm Tenure

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This page contains narratives, presentations, and templates related to drafting of written agreements for use of land in farming. The emphasis of this page is on various types of lease templates for use of land, as well as rights of farm tenants and lessees, and their landlords. Agreements for transfer of ownership appear under Asset Transfer Agreements.

Reading

Word of Mouth: The Verbal Farm Tenancy in North Carolina. This narrative provides an overview of the common and statutory law concerning unwritten yet permissive rental arrangements on farmland.

Farm Leases: Farm Lease Considerations for Farmer and LandownerThis narrative reviews the farm lease tenure relationship from the landowner’s side and from the farmer’s side, with perspectives each should consider when reaching an agreement for the use of farmland.

Templates

Lease Memorandum Template (Multi Parcel)This is a template for a Memorandum of Lease listing multiple parcels owned by a landowner to be farmed by one producer entity, and recorded with the county register of deeds. Under North Carolina law, a lease in excess of three (3) years must be recorded to protect the leasehold on land transferred to a new owner (e.g., sold, gifted, or inherited).

Sample Letter Terminating a Verbal Farm TenancyThis template letter may be used to advise a farm tenant, who is farming the land on an oral agreement (without a written lease), that their tenancy will end at the end of the year. Under North Carolina law (N.C.G.S. §42-14) an annual tenancy must be terminated no less than thirty (30) days prior to the end of the tenancy. By law in North Carolina, agricultural tenancies run from January 1 to January 1, so notice must be received by the tenant no later than November 30. HOWEVER, in certain counties, N.C.G.S. §42-23, mandates that verbal agricultural tenancies run from December 1 to December 1 to December 1, so notice must be received by the tenant no later than October 31. Such is applicable to the following counties:  Alamance, Anson, Ashe, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gaston, Greene, Hoke, Jones, Lenoir, Lincoln, Montgomery, Onslow, Pender, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne and Yadkin. The attached template can be modified depending on which county the parcel is located.

Pasture LeaseThis template is a simple lease for use of pasture.

Whole Farmstead Lease (including residential structure)This lease template is for use when leasing a ‘whole farmstead’ that includes a residence. It has been modified to cover basic issues required by North Carolina residential tenancy laws.

Silvopasture LeaseThis lease template is for rental situations where silviculture is involved, concerning preservation and maintenance of forested areas.

Simple Equipment Lease (Small Farm)

Acknowledgements

Content loaded to Agricultural and Natural Resource Law portal, including narratives, workbooks and presentations, is supported by The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (TTFC) (Grant award 2019-001-16), titled “An Heirs Guide to Farmland”).