77-6-501. Agricultural leases. (1) For agricultural land, all leases except lease renewals upon which the lessee has made improvements at the lessee's expense, as provided in subsection (3), must be continued or made upon a crop share rental basis of not less than one-fourth of the annual crops to the state or the usual landlord's share prevailing in the district, whichever is greater. The board may, however, approve special crop share rentals of less than one-fourth for high production cost crops, such as but not limited to potatoes and sugar beets, or for high production cost methods when these methods would result in more income to the state. The board may not delegate the authority to approve special crop share rentals.
(2) Except in the case of cash lease renewals under subsection (3), if it is in the best interests of the state, the department may authorize a lease upon other bases than crop share, but in these cases, the rental must at least equal the value of the usual landlord's share prevailing in the district under similar circumstances, and the department shall set forth in the records the conditions of the case and the rental to be charged.
(3) Subject to 77-1-134, in a case in which the lessee has made substantial improvements for irrigation purposes to the lease at the lessee's own expense, the department shall authorize a cash lease renewal at not less than $15 an acre on the portion of the lease that has been improved.
(4) For all agricultural leases issued through competitive bidding provided for under 77-6-202 or 77-6-205, the department shall require on any competitive bid greater than a one-third crop share a minimum annual guarantee of not less than $15 an acre.
(5) The department shall set annual hay prices based on round bales for agricultural leases under the jurisdiction of the regional land offices.