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Ohio House Passes Bill Updating Agricultural Leases

December 8, 2021
Brian Stewart News

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 397, legislation to provide greater clarity and predictability with regard to agricultural leases and, specifically, their method of termination.

“As a practicing attorney from a rural farming community, I have witnessed first-hand the disputes that can arise when a method or deadline for terminating of a lease is not included in the verbal or written lease,” said joint sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville). “H.B. 397 will modernize our agriculture leasing laws, and help this process run more smoothly.”

The bill requires an agricultural lease agreement to be terminated by written notice from the lessor to the lessee unless the lease agreement contains a termination date or method for providing notice of termination. Under the bill, the required notice to terminate an agricultural lease agreement must be given by September 1, in the year it is to be effective, and sets the termination date after notice as the date harvesting is complete or December 31 of the year notice is given, whichever comes first.

“Food and agriculture is our state’s largest industry,” said State Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), joint sponsor of the bill. “It is so important economically that this industry operates as smoothly as possible for the thousands of Ohioans who make their living and provide for their families through the agricultural industry.”

The bill has the support of several organizations including: The Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, the Ohio State University Extension.

“This bill will reduce litigation between farm families by adding greater transparency and predictability to the leasing process, which will then add grease to the wheels for Ohio’s top industry,” added Stewart.

The bill passed in the House with a vote of 82-2, and will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.