Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics, September 11, 2019


There are many questions regarding the differences between written and unwritten agricultural land leases for cropland and for pasture. This Q&A explores some of the more important differences, focusing on lease termination requirements and the status of hunting rights on leased cropland and pasture. How are cropland leases terminated in Nebraska? That depends on the type of cropland lease. If it is a written lease, the lease terminates according to its terms. If the lease does not address how the lease is terminated, it automatically terminates without notice on the last day of the lease (no six- months notice requirement). If the cropland lease is an unwritten lease, notice of termination must be given by the landlord to the tenant six months before the beginning of the next lease year. In Nebraska--and in the absence of a written lease specifying a different date--the lease year begins on March 1 (even for fall-planted crops). That means that notice to quit must be given no later than the preceding September 1. This six-month notice requirement also applies when the land is sold. If the land is subject to an unwritten lease and is sold October 1 and no notice to quit was given by the preceding September 1, the buyer is subject to the unwritten lease. This is why many written leases contain a provision to the effect that the sale of the property terminates the lease subject to the tenant’s right to harvest any growing crop.