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Farm Advisory
by Attorney General Tom Miller - June 2012

Farm Tenancy Extension/Termination

September 1st is the annual notice deadline for terminating most farm tenancies. Iowa law sets out the specific steps landlords or tenants must follow in order to provide legal notice for termination of existing tenancies.

Termination Notice Needed by September 1st.

Generally speaking, a farm tenancy with an acreage of 40 acres or more, whether written or oral, continues beyond the agreed term for the following crop year on the same terms and conditions as the original tenancy, unless written notice of termination is served upon either party by September 1st.  A farm tenancy means a leasehold interest by a person who produces crops or provides for the care and feeding of livestock on the land, including grazing or supplying feed to the livestock.

Unless there is a clear agreement otherwise fixing the termination date of the farm tenancy, the notice of termination must fix the termination date of the farm tenancy as March 1.  If there is a clear agreement fixing the termination date of the farm tenancy, whether in writing or not, the farm tenancy ceases on that date without the need for notice of termination.

Methods of Notice of Termination

When required, notice of termination can be legally provided by using any of the following methods on or before September 1st: (1) by personally delivering to the other party to the tenancy a written notice with the other party receiving, accepting and signing that they received the notice; (2) by having the notice served by the county sheriff or other process server; (3) by publication; or (4) by mailing and completing the service of the notice by certified mail.

Landlords and tenants seeking to terminate farm tenancies should consult a private attorney to determine whether notice of termination is required and to ensure that any notice is properly served by strictly following one of the methods just described.

Iowa landlords and tenants usually have good relationships, but, like maintaining good fences with neighbors, it's best to do it right with farm tenancy extensions and terminations.


Iowa Attorney General Farm Division
321 East 12th St., Room 018
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Phone: 515/281-5351
Fax: 515/242-6072
Email: farm@ag.state.ia.us