Sustainable Land Tenure
... Agricultural Law Center › Sustainable Land Tenure FaceBookTwitterYouTube

The Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure Initiative (SALT) is a joint project conducted by Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. The work of the Initiative includes analysis of existing data and information on land ownership patterns; private contracts affecting farmland, including farm lease agreements, recreational leases, ecosystem service contracts, and farm management agreements; and local and state policies that impact agricultural sustainability and stewardship in order to provide learning opportunities for farmers, landowners, attorneys, educators, and public officials.

The work of the initiative and, therefore, the information included in this site focuses primarily on the relationship between sustainable agriculture and land tenure in the United States, with a focus on the tenancy landscape and correlating laws, publications, and organizations in the State of Iowa. Much of the information is relevant to other states and select laws and information relating to other states is also examined.

SALT Resources

The Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing” is a 53 page guide to assist landowners in communicating with their advisors and negotiating profitable, sustainable farm lease arrangements with their tenants. The Guide addresses issues ranging from establishing stable, long-term tenure for farm operators to assisting new farmers. is correlating website, which provides the Guide as a free downloadable pdf document, as well as interactive landowner tools for “determining priorities and exploring options,” and video commentary on important legal and conservation issues regarding sustainable agriculture and farm lease agreements.

Professor Neil Hamilton's article, Feeding Our Green Futute: Legal Responsibilities and Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure (13 Drake Journal of Agricultural Law 377 (2008)), explains the need to examine sustainable agriculture in the context of land tenure arrangements, the legal duty of stewardship that exists for Iowa's landowners, and the development, or lack thereof, of Aldo Leopold's "Land Ethic."

Related Resources

Neil D. Hamilton, Director, Drake Agricultural Law Center, Twenty Questions (or More) to Consider About the Relation of Sustainability, Organic Farming, Local Production, and Energy in America's Agricutlural Future, Address Before the American Agricultural Law Association (Sept. 25, 2009).

Neil D. Hamilton, Adjusting Farm Tenancy Practices to Support Sustainable Agricutlure, 12 Journal of Agricultural Taxation and Law 579 (1984).

Last Modified: 2/14/2012 1:05:00 PM by Ag Law Workstudy