tenant farming

Agricultural system in which landowners rent their land to farmers and receive either cash or a share of the product in return. Landowners may also contribute operating capital and management. Under one arrangement, known as sharecropping, the landowner furnishes all the capital and sometimes the food, clothing, and medical expenses of the tenant and may also supervise the work. The sharecropper then pays the landowner with a portion of the output grown on the land. In other forms of tenant farming, the tenant may furnish all the equipment and have substantial autonomy in the farm's operation. Tenants and their families probably constitute two-fifths of the world's population engaged in agriculture. Tenant farming can be highly efficient, as has been shown in England and Wales. Abuses occur when landowners' power is excessive and the tenants are poor or of inferior social status.

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Parties to the leasing of real estate, whose relationship is bound by contract. The landlord, or lessor, is the owner; the tenant, or lessee, supplies payment in order to enjoy possession and use of the property for a specified period. Important forms of tenancy include tenancy for a fixed period, periodic (seasonal) tenancy, tenancy at will, and holdover tenancy (whereby a tenant remains after the contract has ended). Seealso real and personal property, rent.

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In medieval and early modern European society a tenant-in-chief, sometimes vassal-in-chief, denotes the high nobles who held their lands as tenants directly from the monarch, as opposed to holding them from another nobleman or senior member of the clergy. Such people were the backbone of the monarchs's influence throughout the state and include princes and dukes (many of whom would have been immediate relatives of the monarch), and earls. They could also be called baron or lords. Tenants-in-chief were situated under the monarch in the feudal system.

The term is actually a neologism of later historians.

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