Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 08/16/2006. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


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. In legal terms, verbal farm leases in Nebraska may be either "year-to-year" leases or "holdover" leases. Holdover leases result when a written lease terminates but the landlord and tenant continue the lease with an oral agreement, either directly or implied, without entering into a new written lease. The most common legal issue associated with verbal farm leases is how a lease may legally be terminated. For both year-to-year leases and holdover leases, six months advance notice must be given to legally terminate the lease. However, the lease date (the date from which the six months is counted) is different. 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.