Oral farm leases renew automatically Sept. 1

Oral farm leases renew automatically Sept. 1 Oral farm leases will renew automatically for the next growing season on Sept. 1, unless written notice of intent to terminate or modify the existing lease is given before Sept. 1, a South Dakota State University specialist said.

SDSU Extension Marketing and Management Specialist Donald Peterson said any lease that renews automatically will carry the same terms and conditions as the existing lease. Once such notice is given, the existing lease still remains in effect until March 1, at which time the new contract becomes effective. These rules apply to both the tenant and the landowner and the only exception is when one party fails to live up to the terms of the original agreement.

Peterson said any landlord or tenant who wants to terminate or modify an existing oral contract must notify the other party by Sept. 1.

When wrongful termination occurs and the case goes to court, the injured party is normally awarded a "normal" profit from the land, and sometimes punitive damages.

The date of automatic renewal was changed from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1 several years ago to protect tenants who plant fall-seeded crops such as winter wheat. Sometimes farmers and landlords forget about this change.

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