Nebraska Farm Lease Termination

June 30, 2011

Whenever we sell property in Nebraska and there is a landlord/tenant lease arrangement, questions arise as to the rights of both the landlord & the tenant. If a landlord is contemplating a sale of their property, the August 31st notice of termination for most leases is drawing near.  To educate, inform, and protect both parties to a farm lease, the following is the introductory paragraph to an article in Cornhusker Economics, dated February 27, 2008 written by J. David Aiken, Water & Agricultural Law Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Rising crop prices have led many landlords to seek renegotiation of lease terms, particularly cash rents. Most Nebraska leases are unwritten, which means that notice of termination must be given six months in advance, usually by August 31. If the landlord cannot terminate the lease, the landlord cannot require the tenant to renegotiate the lease in order to avoid lease termination. However, smart tenants would renegotiate the lease with the landlord in order to keep the lease longer. If a tenant refuses to renegotiate, the tenant could lose the lease after the current crop year. Many farm leases, especially those between family members, are not written but are verbal “handshake” agreements. Because nothing is in writing, the parties may have different recollections of their agreement, making lease disputes more difficult to resolve. The most common legal issue associated with verbal farm leases is how a lease may legally be terminated. For unwritten leases, six months advance notice must be given to legally terminate the lease. In contrast, the termination of a written lease is determined by the terms of the written lease. If nothing is specified, a written lease terminates automatically on the last day of the lease with no automatic renewal.

The entire version of the article which includes subjects such as Termination of Oral (unwritten) Year – Year Leases, Written Leases, Holdover Leases, Notice to Quit, Oral Pasture Lease Termination, Oral Wheat Ground Lease Termination, Voluntary Modification of Legal Rules may be read or downloaded from

Author’s Note: The Need for Personal Legal Advice. Farm leases require a consideration of law and facts unique to each case. The information provided is for educational purposes: It is not a substitute for competent legal advice.