Iowa Farmland Staying with Local Farmers When Its Sold

The value of Iowa farmland went up slightly in this year’s Iowa State University Extension survey, but the source of land sales hasn’t changed much. Economist Wendong Zhang conducts the annual survey of sales and who is selling.

He says they’ve been asking the question for two years and have found that more than 50 percent of the sales are from estates and 20 percent are retired farmers. Zhang says the sales data may not tell the whole story about land ownership.

Zhang says you often don’t see land going on market as the land in estates often transfers within the family. He is now working on a farm ownership and tenure survey. That survey is required by the state every five years.

He says it will give more ideas about how owners use the land and how they plan to get rid of their land in their estate planning. Zhang says they already know from information that’s available that most land goes to those who want to keep planting crops.

“Seventy-two percent of the land is sold to existing farmers — in particular — 72 percent are existing local farmers,” Zhang says.

He says the local farmers are usually pretty close nearby.

“Especially when they have a livestock operation as well. They often don’t look beyond 20 to 25 miles,” according to Zhang.

He says livestock operators want land that is close by because it gives them somewhere to apply manure from their operations. Zhang says the farther they have to travel, the more it costs to spread the manure.

He says his land ownership survey should be out this spring.


(story courtesy of Radio Iowa)