The Department of the Interior (Department) is revising its Agricultural Leasing regulations found at 25 CFR Part 162 Subpart B. The purpose of Part 162 Subpart B is to promote the self-determination of Indian Tribes by providing for the management of Indian agricultural and related renewable resources consistent with Tribal goals and priorities for conservation, multiple use, and sustained yield. 25 U.S.C. § 3702(1). A copy of the proposed draft regulations, including corresponding proposed changes to other Subparts, is enclosed for consideration.
These regulations will address leases of agricultural land suited or used to produce crops, livestock, or other agricultural products, including for farming and grazing purposes and business leases on agricultural land that support the surrounding agricultural community, where appropriate.
To support Indian Tribes and individual Indian landowners, proposed updates to the regulations primarily include the following provisions:
- Make Subpart B—Agricultural Leases consistent with Subpart C—Residential Leases, Subpart D—Business Leases, and Subpart E—Wind and Solar Resource Leases;
- Account for enforcement of Tribal laws on leased land;
- Allow for leases with a "reasonable annual rental," a rental rate less than fair market rental or appraised value that meets minimum landowner expectations for lease income and preserves or builds future value of the land for agricultural purposes;
- Authorize Tribal laws and policies to supersede or modify these regulations in certain circumstances; and
- Clarify that an agricultural lease may allow conservation practices not explicitly described in the lease or listed in the appropriate stipulations or conservation plans incorporated into an agricultural lease, especially if such practices, as adopted, ensure maximum eligibility for participation in Federal agriculture and conservation programs.
The Department welcomes your written comments on the proposed draft regulations by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 ET on Friday, December 29, 2023.