Crop-share leases establish a percentage of the harvested crop that is owed to the landlord. Because the rent is based on productivity, the risk of farming is shared between landlord and tenant. Establishing the rent as a share of the farm’s production also decreases the need between the parties to renegotiate rent each year. Typically, a crop share landlord shares the costs of the operation and may engage in management decisions as well. This allows the tenant greater room to experiment with alternative practices and reduces the amount of capital required by the tenant. If the landowner wishes to decrease their burden regarding management, the crop share lease might also specify that the tenant will be responsible for storing and hauling the landlord’s share of the crop.
Custom often dictates a 50/50 crop share arrangement, though an equitable lease will ensure the share of each party is proportional to the party’s contribution. This is particularly important when engaging in creative cost-sharing arrangments to encourage sustainable practices. Any cash rent for pasture or buildings should also be included in the lease. More information on typical crop-share arrangments in Iowa and on calculating equitable shares in a sustainable or organic crop-share lease can be found at Iowa State University Extension’s Ag Decision Maker.