Reminder: It’s Time for Iowa Farmers to Send Farm Lease Termination Notices

Posted on: August 1st, 2023 by ,

Harvest is fast approaching, but before breaking out the combine, review your farm leases so you can decide whether to terminate them before it’s too late. Under Iowa Code § 562.6, a farm lease continues beyond the agreed term for the following crop year on the same terms and conditions as the original lease unless either party provides written termination notice on or before September 1. In short, terminate before September 1 or the lease is renewed on the same terms. Even after a termination notice the same landlord and tenant might end up working together for the coming season, but a termination signals that the terminating party wants to at least renegotiate the relationship, if not terminate the relationship completely. While landlords may terminate more frequently, the statute applies equally to tenants.

Document titled: Notice of Farm Lease Termination" with pen and work gloves on wooden desk

How to Send a Termination Notice

If you decide not to renew a farm lease, Iowa Code § 562.7 prescribes the three acceptable ways to send the Notice of Termination:

  1. By delivery of the notice, on or before September 1, with acceptance of service to signed by the party to the lease or a successor of the party.
  2. By serving the notice, on or before September 1, personally, or if personal service has been tried and cannot be achieved, by publication, on the same conditions, and in the same manner as provided for the service of original notices, except that when the notice is served by publication no affidavit is required.
  3. By mailing the notice before September 1 by certified mail to the last known mailing address.
    1. Notice served by certified mail is made and completed when the notice is enclosed in a sealed envelope, with the proper postage on the envelope, addressed to the party or a successor of the party at the last known mailing address and deposited in a mail receptacle provided by the United State postal service.

The easiest of these is certified mail, and that’s how most termination notices are sent.

So, leave the combine in the shed for another hour, review your farm leases, decide whether you need to terminate any for next year, and send termination notices for any farm leases you want to terminate. If you don’t you could be stuck with an unprofitable lease for another year!

For more information on farm leases including a sample termination notice form, see the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation’s blog post on the topic. You can read Iowa Code § 562.7 here.

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