In Wisconsin, the vast majority of agricultural leases have been one year leases beginning either March 1st or April 1st. Many, if not most agricultural leases in the past have been handshake deals which have worked out fine for the parties. As with other handshake deals, a lack of written terms for a lease is a hindrance to resolving disputes when they arise. There are two statutes which speak directly to agricultural leases. They are both a part of Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 704, the landlord/tenant statutes.
Wisconsin Statutes 704.03 sets requirements for written leases and provides rules for what happens when tenants take possession of property without such a written lease. 704.03(2) provides if a tenant enters possession under a lease for more than one year which is not a written lease meeting the requirements of another statute and the tenant pays periodic rent, the tenant becomes what is called a periodic tenant. Agricultural periodic tenancies are year-to-year.
Wisconsin Statutes 704.19(3) provides that for terminating such a periodic tenancy, 90 days written notice is required.
Broadly speaking, all the other landlord tenant statutes also apply. Depending on the situation, there may also be administrative code provisions to consider. As always, consult with an attorney before making any important legal decisions. If you found value in this brief guide, I would appreciate the chance to speak to you about representing you.