If you own a piece of land and are thinking of renting it out as pasture there are a couple of things to consider before you write up a contract. You can simply rent the land at a monthly rate or you can protect your land a little more by renting the land based on a per animal rate.This way you can control how many animals are using the land for grazing and prevent it from overgrazing and then erosion.You will also need to factor in specifics for your area and state.
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Decide which method of rental you want to use. The simple rent per acre is the traditional method using a straight calculation based on the value of the land, the availability of other pastures the land taxes and the costs involved with keeping the land. According to the Ohio State University Extension (see Resources below), other factors to be considered are alternative uses for the land that may bring higher rental rates. On the other hand, the rental per animal rate includes even more information in the calculation, such as the quality of the soil for grazing, how much food the soil can support and in how many months of the season hay will grow.
Find out the value of your land. This can be found on the tax assessment you receive yearly from your county. According to North Dakota State University Extension (see Resources below), the value of the land should be multiplied by six to seven per cent to determine the rental rate. This rate will vary from state to state, with some rates double of that in other areas.
Think about what your personal reasons are for renting out the land. The reasons can range from renting the land to a family member to help them get a farm started before they can afford to buy land on their own, to using the land as a profitable business in which you share in the sale of the animals raised on your land.
Educate yourself by checking out what other pasture rental agreements include in your area. You might think that you have the best contract proposal, only to find that other owners in the area have a lot more to offer potential renters, resulting in your land going unrented and unused.
Consult with a contract lawyer. A pasture rental contract is a legal document, and there is no way you can expect to know everything in the legal field when you are busy farming. You will have to put out some money to do this, but it will be well worth it if a disagreement arises and you don't get your rent. The lawyer will help you adjust the contract specifically for your circumstances.
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