Some smallholders are fortunate enough to have more land than they need for their own uses. So they might consider leasing out some of their pasture for grazing. There are a number of points to consider however and it would be best if there is some formal written grazing agreement between the two parties.
There are different forms of agreement. You can have a lease drawn up which would be along the lines of an ordinary rental agreement, or you could have a contract with someone to take what grows on the land, referring specifically to the grass which will be removed by been grazed by livestock.
Contents of a Grazing Agreement
The written agreement could include the following:
- Full names, ID numbers and addresses of both parties involved.
- Date lease becomes effective.
- Date of termination.
- Legal description of pasture, with GPS co-ordinates if possible, possibly supplemented by a map. Programmes such as Google Earth make this easy to provide.
- Limitation on the number of animals that can be pastured. This is very important and will vary according to the type of animal being grazed.
- Details of agreement concerning health requirements. It needs to be stated who will monitor the health of the livestock and contact the veterinarian when needed.
- Agreement concerning identification. It is the responsibility of the owner of the animals to ensure that each animal has an identification mark according to law.
- Stated responsibilities of both parties relative to water, salt, repair of fences, etc.
- Livestock handling facilities – who will provide facilities for loading and unloading?
- Counting: who will be responsible for counting the number of head on the property and when?
- Provisions concerning access by the lessee.
- Amount of rent or how it is to be calculated. There are a number of different ways that this can be calculated.
- When rent is to be paid.
- Provision for settling disagreements.
A satisfactory grazing agreement is one in which all parties understand and willingly agree to the terms and conditions. Developing a written pasture lease agreement makes good business sense, as it provides guidance and protection for both landowners and producers wanting to rent pastures.