Is AI Ready to Draft Your Farm Lease?

By: Robert Moore, OSU Extension

In a previous post “Artificial Intelligence – What Is it and How to Use It”, I briefly discussed AI, how it works and some of its potential uses.  There is no doubt that AI will have profound effects on each of us and our society in general.  In this post, I am going to examine how AI works for a specific task related to agricultural law and measure its performance.

Surveys by Ohio State University indicate around 50% of farmland in Ohio is leased.  Therefore, farm leases are an important legal document for many Ohio farmers.  While some farm leases are still only verbal, many tenants and landowners recognize the benefits of a written lease and have at least a basic written lease in place.  Some leases are written by the tenant or landlord while other leases are written by attorneys.  The issue addressed in this article is: is AI ready to draft your farm lease?

The Process

To address the above question, ChatGPT and Google Bard, two of the more prominent AI interfaces, were each tasked with the following: “draft a cash farm lease”.  This command was broad and vague but would likely reflect what a tenant or landowner might request.  This exercise was performed on May 30, 2023 and each AI tool provided a cash farm lease.  The exercise was again performed on October 4, 2023 to assess if AI’s capabilities changed over time.

To measure the effectiveness of AI, the drafted leases were compared to the recommended lease terms provided in OSU Extension’s bulletin “What’s In your Farm Lease?  A Checklist of Farm Lease Provisions”.  This bulletin was written by Peggy Hall and provides 26 key terms that should be included in most farm leases.  Each draft lease was scored based on the number of terms that were included.

The Results

The following is the score for each draft, with the score reflecting the number of recommended terms from the lease bulletin that were included in the lease drafts:

ChatGPT, May 2023                   8

Google Bard, May 2023             10

Chat GPT, October 2023             9

Google Bard, October 2023        7

As the scores show, neither ChatGPT nor Google Bard included even one-half of the recommended terms and the best was 10 out of 26 or 38%. Two important items of note.  First, no drafts included terms to prevent the tenant from assigning the lease to someone else – an extremely important provision to include in farm leases. Second, no drafts addressed landowner or tenant signatures needing notarized.1

I would describe these drafts as “bare minimum” leases.  They are probably better than having no lease at all, but they could be much better and do not include several key terms.  Also, there was no significant improvement of performance over time.  In fact, the Google Bard score was lower in the later draft.  Asking ChatGPT or Google Bard to “draft a farm cash lease” is not going to provide a satisfactory lease.

Providing Input to AI to Improve Output

As I discussed in my prior AI post, one of the benefits of AI is the ability to chat with it.  That is, you can provide feedback to the AI to assist it in providing a better outcome.  So, that’s what I did.  After reviewing the first two rounds of lease drafts, I asked ChatGPT and Google Bard to draft a third cash farm lease and to specifically include the 26 recommended terms from the lease bulletin.  The resulting leases were better and scored as follows:

ChatGPT           16

Google Bard      20

As you can see, the scores increased significantly.  So, the feedback provided to AI was integrated into the resulting drafts and made the leases better.  This is one of the major advancements of AI. It allows someone like me that has little computer proficiency to provide untrained input that causes a significantly better result.

While the scores did increase, there were still some major issues with the drafts.  I was probably generous in the scoring and gave credit if an issue was addressed, even if somewhat incomplete.  For example, in its first two drafts, ChatGPT did not include a term addressing who receives FSA payments, the tenant or landowner.  ChatGPT did address this issue after being prompted but stated that the landowner would receive all FSA payments.  According to FSA rules, the tenant must receive at least some of the program payments and it is customary for the tenant to receive all FSA payments.  So, while ChatGPT included a term about FSA payments, the included term was not completely accurate or correct.

Google Bard also had similar issues.  In its first two drafts, it did not address what happens in the event of eminent domain takes a portion of the leased property.  A typical lease term would say that the tenant is compensated for any crop damage caused by eminent domain and the landowner would keep the acquisition proceeds.  Google Bard included a provision about eminent domain but stated the tenant would receive all eminent domain proceeds.  Allowing the tenant to keep eminent domain proceeds would be very unusual and not something a landowner should agree to.

I would assess these leases as “better but still not good”.  These drafts did include more of the recommended terms but included many of them in an insufficient or incomplete manner.  The third round of leases did show that AI can learn and improve with feedback but also that it has a long way to go.  The craft and nuance of drafting legal documents still seems to belong to the domain of people.


There are some well-known people, such as Elon Musk, who claim that we should have serious concerns about AI eventually taking over the world.  Their concerns may be valid, but as of now I don’t believe AI is going to take over farm lease drafting anytime soon.  An experienced attorney can do a much better job of drafting a farm lease than today’s AI.  For a tenant or landowner who are unwilling to hire an attorney or may not have the resources to pay an attorney, a farm lease drafted by AI may be better than nothing but that’s about it.  The best source of legal services remains to be attorneys and likely will be for the foreseeable future.  AI is not ready to replace your attorney – yet.

1Leases for more than three years must be notarized.

Artificial Intelligence – What is it and How to Use it

By Robert Moore, OSU Extension

You may have seen the story of an attorney in New York who filed a pleading in a case in a federal district court.   The filing included citations to six court cases that do not actually exist.  Come to find out, the attorney who filed the pleading did not write it but instead used ChatGPT, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool.  The attorney now faces a June 8 sanctions hearing before the judge.  This incident is a good example of the myriad of implications, both good and bad, of using AI in the legal world and beyond.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence refers to the development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. It includes a broad range of technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. AI systems have the ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make autonomous decisions or recommendations.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Work?

AI operates through various techniques and methodologies that allow machines to simulate human intelligence. Here are some key aspects of AI functionality:

Machine Learning. Machine learning is a branch of AI that focuses on developing algorithms capable of learning and improving from data. Through a process called training, AI models are exposed to large datasets, enabling them to recognize patterns, make predictions, and perform tasks without explicit programming.

Natural Language Processing. Natural language processing enables machines to understand and interpret human language. AI systems analyze text, speech, and context to extract meaning, respond to inquiries, and engage in conversation. Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa are examples of AI applications that utilize natural language processing.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, a non-profit corporation.  Released in November 2022, ChatGPT is groundbreaking in that it allows a simple, easy-to-use interface with a powerful AI computer framework.  Anyone who is capable of a simple Google search can use ChatGPT.

The chat or chatbot component of ChatGPT allows the user to chat with ChatGPT.  The user does not need to be a computer programmer or have a sophisticated understanding of computers.  The user asks or commands ChatGPT to produce an answer or output and then can further refine the output by chatting with ChatGPT.  For example, let’s enter the following into ChatGPT: “Write a one paragraph email to my neighbor asking them to fix their fence so their cattle quit getting into my field”.  ChatGPT produces the following:

“I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to bring to your attention a recurring issue that has been affecting my property recently. It seems that the fence separating our fields is in need of repair, as I have noticed your cattle frequently entering my field. While I understand that maintenance tasks can sometimes slip our minds, I kindly request your assistance in fixing the fence to prevent further incursions. I believe that addressing this matter promptly will help maintain a positive relationship between us and ensure the well-being of both our properties. If you require any assistance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

As you can see, ChatGPT did a good job of writing the email.  Instead of you spending 15 minutes trying to find the right words, it drafted your email in seconds.  But let’s say you’ve already told your neighbor about their fence and want the email to be firmer and more direct.  All you have to say to ChatGPT is: “Make the email firmer and more direct”.  ChatGPT produces the following:

“I hope this email finds you well, although I must express my growing concern over a pressing matter. It has come to my attention on multiple occasions that your cattle have been breaching the fence separating our fields. This trespassing has caused considerable damage to my property and poses a risk to both your animals and mine. I must insist that you take immediate action to rectify this issue by repairing the fence without any further delay. It is imperative that we maintain clear boundaries and protect the integrity of our respective properties. I trust you understand the urgency of this situation and will promptly address it. Should you require any assistance or have questions regarding this matter, please reach out to me as soon as possible.”

By chatting with ChatGPT, it was able to learn what changes you wanted and to accommodate the request.  ChatGPT was able to successfully change the email to a firmer tone by understanding simple, common input terms.  This is the breakthrough of ChatGPT and other AI tools, AI is no longer the domain of the Elon Musk’s of the world, we all now have access to it.  You can set up a free account with ChatGPT and start using it today.

You may be thinking the email is a neat trick but what can it do to help me in the real world?  The possibilities are endless.  The following are just a few examples:

  • Provide creative names for a new business
  • Explain a complex concept
  • Research an issue
  • Draft invoices and receipts
  • Create marketing ideas and marketing materials
  • Generate a mission statement for your organization

Limitations of AI

AI is not close to perfect, at least not yet.  As the New York lawyer found out, ChatGPT and other AI tools can, and do, sometimes produce incorrect responses.  Therefore, AI should be used as a tool to provide ideas and assist with tasks but should not be relied upon as an infallible expert on all matters.  AI is not currently a capable substitute for important, technical issues such as medical diagnosis, legal services or tax advice.

The Agricultural and Resource Law Program has begun a project to monitor and measure the effectiveness of ChatGPT and other AI tools in providing legal assistance.  Over the next few months, we will provide updates and summaries of our findings.  We feel it is important to understand both the utility and limitations of AI in the legal and agricultural world.


AI technology presents numerous benefits, including improved efficiency, enhanced decision-making capabilities, and automation of tasks. AI can and will likely transform many industries including legal and agriculture. However, it is crucial to consider the current limitations of AI and the need for human oversight. Striking a balance between harnessing AI’s potential benefits and addressing its limitations is vital for responsible and effective integration.


Author’s Note: Excluding the examples, ChatGPT wrote about 25% of this article, can you tell which part?

Where’s the driver?


See the latest technology at this year’s Farm Science Review.  Demonstrations, beginning at 12:30 daily, will showcase ag technology innovations including an autonomous tractor, drone spraying, high-clearance robotic irrigation system capable of applying animal nutrient sources to row crops, and wireless communications options for connecting these devices.

“We are beginning to see autonomy product offerings that solve challenging problems for farmers who want to stay ahead of the competition by increasing yields, better utilizing production inputs, and resolving skilled labor shortages during peak times for field operations which ultimately leads to increased profits,” said Scott Shearer, professor and chair of the CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE).

The self-driving autonomous farm tractor is one example and performs its duties without an operator in the cab. “They are internet connected to share computational loads with a web-based interface for mission planning, provide in-field high accuracy position information, track progress, and enable remote monitoring of machine performance. Increasingly, artificial intelligence is being utilized to avoid collisions by detecting obstacles including humans, animals, other vehicles, and other obstacles, said John Fulton, professor and Extension specialist in FABE. “Tractors without drivers are being deployed with varying levels of autonomy ranging from remote monitoring via tractor-mounted cameras to on-board artificial intelligence to carry out routine, repetitive, and labor-intensive procedures.”

Because they can record information automatically and store it in the cloud for easy access, automated tractors can also make it easier to create, keep, and transfer records of agricultural procedures. Self-driving and self-steering tractors can also significantly improve the accuracy of seeding, weeding, harvesting, and other procedures which can mean reduced use of seeds, pesticides, and other chemicals.

“There is no doubt that automation has already provided benefits to agriculture,” said Fulton, who specializes in developing technology and automated components related to application equipment to more accurately place and meet site-specific crop and soil needs. His research program also focuses on translational data analytics, developing telemetry solutions, and digital tools to improve the farm business and in-season decisions.

Shearer and Fulton have also conducted research on using drones in agriculture. The machines were initially used for non-spraying applications, such as scouting fields and collecting data on crop and field conditions. When humans scout a field, the professors explained, they typically only go to four or five locations within a field, but a drone can visit as many as 30 locations that are uniformly distributed over a field in less time.

Drones can capture important data such as soil characteristics, location of drainage tiles, crop nutrient stress level, crop emergence or stand counts, weed species and distribution levels across fields, and detection of insects and diseases.

But the most recent advancement related to drones and farming is using drones for spraying and applying to cover crops. Although spraying with a drone is still in its infancy in the United States, interest in the technology is high. “A rapid increase of easy-to-operate drones for spraying pesticides is underway. They are lightweight, but powerful enough to lift a 8–18-gallon tank,” said Fulton. A variety of drones will be on-site at FSR to illustrate how the technology works. Regulatory requirements of drone application in agriculture, as well as current challenges of the technology will also be discussed.

With drones becoming increasingly available to farmers and with the advances in analytical tools, weed detection and eradication can be accomplished with greater speed and accuracy. Research at Ohio State is being conducted to determine spray deposition, swath control, and coverage and drift from drone sprayers in comparison to other methods used for pesticide application.

Participants at FSR will also be able to see a robotic high-clearance irrigation system that can apply liquid animal nutrient sources at the base of actively growing corn plants. The uniqueness of this system is its ability to follow planter passes regardless of the shape and size of the field. The irrigator follows and applies whatever the crop needs right at the base of the plant throughout the growing season.

“A major benefit of robotic irrigation is the ability to apply both water and nutrients when the crop is most in need of these inputs,” said Andrew Klopfenstein, a senior research engineer in FABE. “Rather than overapplying at less optimal times, nutrients can be applied more frequently in smaller amounts and when crops can readily utilize nutrients, thus reducing nutrient loss and improving nutrient use efficiency.”

Manure application through robotic irrigation systems presents several advantages over traditional land application methods—namely reduced compaction, the ability to apply to growing crops, better application control, and lower costs. Additional advantages may include increased asset utilization through extended application periods, elimination of plugging concerns, reduced odor levels, and reduced surface water contamination.

Automating routine field activities in agriculture results in better input utilization, higher yields, and farming precision, which leads to greater yields and financial returns. One of the most significant impacts seen is gains in efficiency and accuracy. Additional benefits include more timely nutrient application and better distribution, decreased fuel use, and lower labor and production costs. Visit FSR where you can see the machines in action and talk with the Ohio State specialists who are researching the best ways to use them.

Benchmarking Crop Machinery Cost And Investment

by Michael Langemeier, Purdue University

The continued increase in size of tractors, combines, and other machinery has enabled farms to operate more acres and reduce labor use per acre. However, this increase in machinery size also makes it increasingly important to evaluate the efficient use of machinery. This article will discuss machinery cost and investment benchmarks, and illustrate the computation of crop machinery cost and investment for a case farm in west central Indiana.

Key Machinery Benchmarks
Crop machinery cost per acre is computed by summing depreciation, interest, property taxes, insurance, leasing, repairs, fuel and lubricants, and custom hire and rental expense; and dividing the resulting figure by crop acres or harvested acres. Interest should include both cash interest paid and an opportunity charge on machinery and equipment that is owned. In regions where double-cropping predominates, using harvested acres is preferable.

Crop machinery investment per acre is computed by dividing total crop machinery investment (i.e., investment in tractors, combines, and other machinery) by crop acres or harvested acres. Again, in regions where double-cropping is prevalent, using harvested acres gives a more accurate depiction of machinery investment.

Machinery investment per acre typically declines with farm size. Thus, it is important for farms to compare machinery investment per acre with similarly sized farms and to examine the trend in this benchmark for a particular farm. A farm with relatively high machinery investment per acre needs to determine whether this high value is a problem. If the farm faces serious labor or timeliness constraints, their machinery investment per acre may be relatively high. However, if their machinery investment per acre is high due to the purchase of assets used to mitigate income tax obligations or for some other reason, the farm needs to think about their long-term strategy with respect to purchasing machinery and equipment.

Click here to read the entire article.


Participate in a Study to Identify Major Barriers to Precision Agriculture Technology Adoption

The Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering (FABE) is looking for farmers, consultants, and other individuals who work alongside farmers to participate in a survey aimed at identifying major barriers that row crop farmers, consultants, and other personnel involved in crop production face when adopting precision agriculture technologies. Eligible participants must have row cropping operations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas or preform consulting tasks or other tasks for famers who have row crop operations within the states stated above.

Participants who are interested in participating are required to take the survey found with the link here: You will have six weeks from April 25, 2022 to June 15, 2022 to respond to the survey. Completing the survey will constitute your consent to participate in the study.

Inquires with questions about the survey or its use should be directed to John Fulton;


Central Ohio Agronomy School – Night #2

David Marrison, Coshocton County ANR Educator shares insights and options on retirement planning for you and your farm.

Night 3 Speakers – Monday March 21

Corn Disease Update

Dr. Pierce Paul, OSU Plant Pathology
Tar Spot – Do we have it, Can we control it? Aerial Applications of Fungicides … is 2 gallons really enough? Vomitoxin Research Results.

Carbon Credits – Is There Really A Market In Ohio?

Mike Estadt, ANR Educator Pickaway County
What is a carbon credit? What is a carbon credit worth? What do I have to do? Mike will answer these and many other questions about selling carbon credits.