Landowner Responsibility in a Sharecropping Agreement

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Sharecropping is a centuries old concept where a tenant farmer that is able to provide labor and equipment enters into an agreement with a landowner to share expenses and split the crops that result. Historically, the 50/50 crop share agreement has been one of the most common farming arrangements and has provided for good quality farming in the Corn Belt (Trust Examination Manual).


However, modern farming techniques, market forces, and variables that arise on an individual basis have added new dimensions to this age-old practice. Chemicals, fertilizers, pest control, and grain handling all need to be carefully considered. Who will stand the expense Who will maintain responsibility for management decisions For the landowner, these are important questions that need to be answered and agreed upon before entering into a 50/50 agreement with a tenant farmer.
The primary responsibility of the landowner is to provide the land necessary to produce a crop. Cropsharing is used in the Midwest United States primarily for small grains such as corn and soybeans where the grains are rotated to maintain soil quality and reduce the threat of pests (Sadoulet, de Janvry and Fukui, 1997). In these cases, the landowner provides the land and the tenant provides the necessary equipment and labor needed to plant, care for, and properly maintain the fields of grain. Along with the land that the landowner provides, it is usually assumed that the owner has the responsibility to provide the tenant with unlimited access to the land as seen necessary by the tenant.
The provision of the land, and access, is only the most basic responsibility that the landowner has. ...
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