Appropriate way to determine a fair cow lease agreement

Producer Question from 2015

Q.  What would be an appropriate way to determine a fair cow lease agreement? (Sept 3, 2015)

A.  Cattle share or cash leases can be used as a way to share the revenue and expenses associated with a cow-calf enterprise when multiple people are involved. For a brief overview on cattle lease agreements and things that should be considered see the Cow Leases article. For a more in-depth discussion of cattle leases as well as an example lease agreement, see the UNL Extension Circular Beef Cattle Share Lease Agreements (PDF 525KB).

Dr. Matt Stockton, UNL Extension Ag Economist, has developed an Excel® Spreadsheet titled Cow-calf Share Lease Cow-Q-Lator that is located on the West Central Research and Extension Center Ag Economics Decision Aids page. This spreadsheet takes into account the contributions of all parties involved to the cow-calf enterprise and then calculates both a "fair" cash lease value as well as what would be an equitable share arrangement.

For more information on the spreadsheet tool and things to evaluate to determine a fair cow lease, please see the Cow-calf Share Lease Cow-Q-Lator video.

Due to the volatility of inputs as well as cattle prices, evaluating the lease on an annual basis to revisit what is an equitable arrangement is in the best interest of all people involved.

Aaron Berger, Extension Educator
Panhandle Research & Extension Center
University of Nebraska