A tenant farmer is someone who farms on rented land. 佃 is a compound ideograph created by combining the radicals 人 Rén ("Person") and 田 Tián ("Field") meaning "A person who works a field". This character uses the special left radical form of 人, and is a good example of how alternative radical forms of characters are used to make compound ideographs more neat and aesthetically pleasing.
The popularity of tenant farming was often influenced by taxes. Wealthy land owners would lease to tenant farmers to utilize and profit from land on which they were taxed, and poor land owners would avoid land taxes by giving up their land to the state and staying on as tenant farmers in exchange for money and a portion of the crops. Tenant farming is still practiced today in many countries.