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ISU Extension & Outreach Delaware County Offering Farmland Leasing and Management Workshop

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Delaware County will offer a Farmland Leasing and Management workshop to help answer questions that landowners and tenants have about farmland leasing and land management issues. The workshop will be held at 9:00 a.m. on August 3rd at the Community Center on the Fairgrounds in Manchester. 

Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present a wide range of topics related to farmland leasing and management. O’Rourke is a licensed attorney with extensive experience in working with farm, ranch and agribusiness interests. “Year after year, I receive numerous contacts from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates,” says O’Rourke.  “The interest in and conversations about farm leasing arrangements continues to grow, and 2021 is no different,” O’Rourke noted.  “We expect strong attendance and discussion at these meetings.”

More than half of Iowa farmland is rented.  In some Iowa locations, as much as 70 percent of the land is farmed by farmers who don’t own the land. In Northeast Iowa, the result is many conversations and negotiations between farmland owners and producer-tenants to determine what makes sense for farmland leases and cash rental rates – both fixed rent and flexible arrangements.  Strong landlord/tenant relationships are important for the long-term viability of Iowa’s farming communities.

“Due to the volatility of commodity and land markets, we’ve seen increased inquiries regarding both fixed and flexible cash lease methodologies,” says O’Rourke.  “There are dozens of methods for putting together flexible cash lease arrangements, and we will work through several examples.”  Recent ISU research indicates that on average, most farmers in Iowa are seeing a significant increase in what they pay for 2021 land rents.  This is according to a recent survey of farmers, landowners and ag professionals who are familiar with 1.5 million cash rented acres across the state.

Farmland owners and producer-tenants need to have more conversation about the cost of inputs to put in the crop and reasonable expectations on profit margins. “ISU Extension and Outreach has good resources for people to use to gain an understanding of how crop input costs can be considered in setting cash lease rates, and I’ll show how those can be used.”

Iowa has seen an increasing transition of farmland ownership.  “We find that children and surviving spouses may be less likely to continue operating the farm themselves.  That’s a major reason why farmland leasing continues to increase.”

Anyone who is interested in farmland rental rates should attend the workshop on August 3rd.  “Both farmland owners and producer-tenants should attend.  In fact, the ideal situation is for these folks to attend together and then sit down at the kitchen table to discuss their farm lease arrangements for the coming year.”

Workshop attendees will receive a comprehensive workbook packed with information about land values, leasing and different types of farm lease arrangements. 

The registration fee is $20 per person and covers the cost of the workshop along with a 100-page workbook.  Pre-registration is preferred by calling 563-927-4201 or by visiting our website.  Walk-ins may attend for a $25 fee at the door.

A full list of area Farmland Leasing and Management workshop locations and dates can be found on our website:  More information about this and other farmland leasing meetings in Iowa can be found at ISU Extension’s Ag Decision Maker website:

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