What should happen with cash rents on land that couldn’t be seeded this spring? With millions of acres unseeded, the cash rent situation is a hot topic in some communities. Most cash rental agreements stipulate a payment per cultivated acre without any provision for a year when the land couldn’t be seeded. Legally, under most agreements, the rent is to be paid no matter what. A year like this one shows the need to have an agreement that takes all sorts of different scenarios into account. Beyond the legal status, some will argue that landlords have a moral imperative to help out renters. There will no doubt be instances where landlords do just that, especially if the renter has been farming the land for a long time or if the renter is a relative. In some cases, the landlord may provide a break this year in exchange for enhanced benefits in subsequent years. On unseeded land, the only income is the Unseeded Acreage Payment under crop insurance and the $30 in extra assistance announced by government. It doesn’t amount to much compared to the costs for weed control and getting land in shape to seed next year, let alone a cash rent payment. However, producers with a lot of unseeded land should qualify for varying amounts under the AgriStability program, so their situation may not end up as dire as it appears. I welcome your comments on this issue or any other. I’m Kevin Hursh.
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