Environmental stipulations may be helpful to environmental protection but are nonetheless secondary to the importance of creating long-term stability for investment in soil health. The longer a farmer expects to rent land and the more stable a farmers’ financial resources, the more he or she can invest in the soil.
In Ontario, it is still uncommon for leases to include stipulations of any kind, (83% of both oral and written agreements have no stipulations) but if both parties are comfortable with their inclusion in a legal written lease, it can create a shared responsibility for the health of the land and also for the environment. Start with a conversation and then bring the results of your discussion to a lawyer for further input and potential incorporation into the lease. It is important to stipulate the practice and not the result, because often times the results are dependent on weather and other factors.
Environmental stipulations could include:
- no spreading manure or fertilizer on frozen ground
- no growing of the same crops for two years in succession
- the incorporation of cover crops and/or wheat into a crop rotation
- leaving a 10 metre buffer strip alongside municipal drains or watercourses
- the planting and maintenance of a tree windbreak