University of Maryland Extension

Lease Agreements

Note: This information is intended to provide general information about legal issues in agricultural leasing and should not be construed as providing legal advice. It should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. State laws vary and no attempt is made to discuss laws of states other than Maryland. For advice about how the issues discussed here might apply to your individual situation, you should consult an attorney.

Maryland Cash Rent
Cash rent lease agreements are the most popular type of lease agreement in Maryland. Cash rent is a fixed amount on a per acre basis. In this agreement the owner is relieved of operating and marketing decisions and income is known year to year. The tenant has the risk and returns from the crop and can make crop and livestock decisions.

The USDA, National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) provides the county data in response to requests from customers as well as a requirement of the Farm Bill. Estimates of average cash rental rates per acre for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland and pastureland are published at the County, District and State level where possible. This is based on responses to annual farm level surveys.

Crop Cash Rental Rates (Updated byPaul Goeringer, Research Assistant, UMD 2020)

Lease Agreement Introduction

According to USDA's National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS), agricultural producers lease over 42 percent of all agricultural land in Maryland, or 850,512 acres in 2012 (Ag Census, 2012). Leases for agricultural real estate, equipment, and/or livestock take different forms to meet the needs of the landlord and the tenant. This guide provides an overview of various land leasing issues facing agricultural landowners and agricultural land tenants and raises issues important from both a landowner's and tenant farmer's perspective.

Video Overview


How to Lease Your Land With a Conservation Easement by Mayhah Suri and Paul Goeringer, FS-1049, September, 2016

 Agricultural Leasing Document (FULL TEXT - 44 pages)


Executive Summary
Written versus Oral Leases
Types of Leases
Lease Renewal and Termination
Lease Considerations
Details Outside the Lease
Common Terminology Used in Property Leasing

Fillable Documents*

Fixed Cash Lease (Fillable File)Flex Cash Lease (Fillable File)
Crop Share Lease (Fillable File)Termination Letter (Fillable File)

*These leases can be filled out on a computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader (for Windows users) or Preview (for Mac users), you may have to update to the most recent editions of either program.  Just click on the lines you would ordinarily fill out by hand and type in the information.  Print out two copies of the completed document to be signed by both the landowner and tenant.  User should remember that these forms are provided to aid landowners and tenants in developing their own leases that fit their situations.  Both parties should always consider seeking out legal counsel in developing such agreements

Issues When Using a Form Lease

Growing Crops at Lease Termination?


Agriculture Mediation Fact Sheet

Maryland Landlord Tenant Law


Landlord-Tenant Communication (Jennifer Rhodes, May 4, 2015) (pdf of presentation available here).  Sample newsletter is available here.  Sample resume is available here.

Agriculture Mediation Programs (Mae Johnson, May 4, 2015) (pdf of presentation available here).

Maryland FarmLink (Greg Bowen, May 11, 2015).

Leasing Considerations and Developing a Rental Rate (Paul Goeringer, May 11, 2015) (pdf of presentation available here).


Some of the research on this page is funded by:

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2021. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.