Published Apr 10, 2014

I would like to use cover crops on my land…

By Drake Larsen

I would like to use cover crops on my land,” a landowner describes to farmer Tim Smith at a recent cover crop field day, “but we rent out the land and our tenant isn’t interested.”

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This is not the first time Tim has heard a landowner describe this predicament and other cover crop presenters get the same questions.  Tim’s first response is: You own the land. But it is often difficult for a landowner to proceed from there. Landowners often don’t know their rights nor do they have access to the tools that can help them to facilitate the conversation with their tenant.

Tim points landowners to a couple of resources.  First, he suggests The Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing – a guide created by the Drake Agricultural Law Center for landowners.  For those wanting more personalized assistance he points them to Practical Farmers of Iowa’s new program – Practical Landowner Services (PLS). PLS was developed to help landowners and their farming partners learn and talk to each other about cover crops and sustainable agriculture practices.  For more information on PLS, contact Erica at