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Obligation to farm - keeping the land in use

dyrket areal (Copyright: Statens landbruksforvaltning)

Every owner of cultivated land and some areas of pastureland must farm the land. As a general rule, the soil must be cultivated and harvested at least once a year. Pastureland must also be kept in good condition.

  • Farming the land yourself

    In Norway we divide pastureland between home pasture (“innmarksbeite”) and pastureland in hills or mountains (“utmarksbeite”). It is only obligatory to farm the home pasture.  Please ask the municipality if you are unsure if your property has this kind of pastureland.

    The owner can choose to farm the land. If so, the owner is responsible for the farm, both financially and practically. The owner does not have to do all the work. Help can be hired.

  • Leasing the farm

    The owner can choose to lease the farm  to someone else who will farm  the land and receive payment for the crops. There are several conditions in the Land Act applicable to the leasing contract:

    • the contract must be in writing
    • the terms of the lease must be for a minimum of 10 years. For practical reasons most land lease contracts cover a period of 10 years exactly, to avoid having to apply for concession and division permits
    • The contract cannot have a clause permitting the owner to end the contract by giving notice.  If the parties wish, they may include a clause permitting the person leasing to end the contract by giving notice.
    • The lease must be based on good farm management of the land. The municipality has a duty to check this, and will notify the owner if the contract does not fulfill this condition.

     

    A copy of all contracts for leasing farmland must be sent to the municipality.

  • What happens if I don’t fulfill these obligations?

    If you do not farm the land, the municipality can decide on sanctions. Firstly, you will be ordered to lease the land to someone if you do not wish to farm it yourself.

    If you have leased the land, but the contract does not fulfill the conditions in the Land Act, you may be given a fine by the County Governor.

  • You can apply for an exemption from this obligation

    You can apply if you believe that all or parts of your land cannot be farmed. You can also apply if you wish to enter into a leasing contract that does not fulfil the conditions in the Land Act (see above). The application is sent to the municipality. The municipality are judges of the case. If your application is denied, you can appeal to the County Governor.

  • More information?

    The municipality can offer more information on these rules and regulations.