1997 Regular Session
To: Education; Agriculture
By: Senator(s) Hawks, Ferris, Hall, Thames, Carlton, Posey, Minor, Stogner, Harvey
Senate Bill 2483
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 29-3-81, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR THE LEASING OF SIXTEENTH SECTION LAND CLASSIFIED AS AGRICULTURAL LAND AND TO GRANT THE EXISTING LEASEHOLDER CERTAIN RIGHTS; TO PROVIDE FOR SHORT-TERM LEASES OF SUCH AGRICULTURAL LANDS UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 29-3-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
29-3-81. (1) Sixteenth section lands, or any lands granted in lieu of sixteenth section lands, classified as agricultural, shall not be leased for a longer term than five (5) years; provided, however, that such lands may be leased for the cultivation of rice, or pasturage, for a term not to exceed ten (10) years * * *. All leases of land classified as agricultural shall be made to expire on the thirty-first day of December. * * * It shall be the duty of the board of education to lease said sixteenth section or lieu lands at public contract after having advertised same for rent in a newspaper published in said county, or if no newspaper is published in said county, then in a newspaper having a general circulation therein, for two (2) successive weeks, the first being at least ten (10) days prior to said public contract. Subject to the classification of the land, it shall be the duty of the board of education to enter into a new lease on agricultural land prior to the expiration of an existing lease of the same land, and such new lease shall be made to take effect on the day immediately following the day on which the existing lease expires. Provided, publication of the advertisement of agricultural land for rent shall not be commenced more than four (4) months prior to the expiration of the term of an existing lease of the same land. The board of education may require bidders to furnish bond or submit evidence of financial ability.
Bids received by the board of education in response to said advertisement shall be opened at a regular or special meeting of the board. The board of education may, at its option, reject all bids or accept the highest and best bid received in response to said advertisement, or may hold an auction among those who submitted bids in response to said advertisement. If the board of education elects to hold an auction, no bidder shall be granted any preference. The opening bid at the auction shall be the highest bid received in response to said advertisement.
(2) In the event that the board of education receives an acceptable bid in response to said advertisement and elects not to hold an auction among those submitting bids, then the holder of the existing lease shall have the right, at the meeting of the board in which such bids are opened, to submit a second bid in an amount not less than one hundred five percent (105%) of the highest acceptable bid received, provided (a) he submitted a bid in response to said advertisement, and (b) he constructed or made improvements on the leasehold premises after receiving approval of the board of education during the term of the existing lease. For purposes hereof, improvements shall not include any work or items that are customarily done on an annual basis in the preparing, planting, growing, cultivating or harvesting of crops or other farm products.
If the holder of the existing lease elects to submit a second bid, the board of education shall hold an auction among those who submitted bids in response to said advertisement. The opening bid at the auction shall be the second bid of the holder of the existing lease. Provided, however, no leaseholder shall have the right to submit a second bid (a) if any rent, taxes or other payment required under his lease are past due, or (b) if he is otherwise in default of any term or provision of said lease and such default has not been corrected or cured to the satisfaction of the board of education after more than thirty (30) days' notice thereof.
(3) In the event an auction is held, the auction may be conducted at the meeting at which bids are considered, or at a subsequent regular or special meeting. Announcement of the time and place where such auction will be held shall be made at the meeting of the board of education at which bids are opened, and no further notice shall be required.
(4) If no bid acceptable to the board of education is received after said advertisement or at auction, the board of education may, within ninety (90) days, lease same by private contract for an amount greater than the highest bid previously rejected in order to acquire a fair rental value for said lands. If no bids are received in response to said advertisement, the board of education may negotiate a private contract for a fair rental value, and the term of such contract shall expire on the thirty-first day of December of the same calendar year in which said contract is made. The board of education * * * may take the notes for the rent and attend to their collection. The board shall have the right and remedies for the security and collection of such rents given by law to the agricultural landlords.
If an existing lease is terminated prior to the expiration of the term originally set therein, upon finding that immediate action is necessary to prevent damage or loss to growing crops or to prevent loss of opportunity to lease said land for the current growing season, the board of education may negotiate a private contract for a fair rental value, and the term of such lease shall expire on the thirty-first day of December of the same calendar year in which said contract is made.
(5) Any holder of a lease on agricultural land (a) granted prior to July 1, 1997, and (b) having an expiration date on or after the first day of April but before the thirty-first day of December shall have the right during the final year of the lease term to extend the term of such lease to the thirty-first day of December next following the expiration date originally fixed in the lease. In the event such lease is extended, the rent for the period from the original expiration date in the lease to the thirty-first day of December next following shall be one hundred five percent (105%) of the annual rent provided in the existing lease prorated over the period of the lease extension. At the expiration of the extended lease term of such lease, or at the expiration of the original lease term if the leaseholder does not extend such lease, then land in the lease shall be offered for lease as otherwise provided paragraphs (1) through (4) hereof.
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SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.