ISU Extension Releases Farmland Ownership Survey

The survey on farmland ownership released recently by Iowa State University Extension shows those who own the land here are getting older and also have more education. ISU Extension economist Alejandro Plastina says farmland ownership has increased among those age 65 to 74 and those 75 and above.

“That has increased substantially through time when we consider those two catergories together in 2017,” Plastina says.

Those who are 75 and older owned 35 percent of the land while those 65 to 74 owned 25 percent. He says the older landowners run bigger operations.

Plastina says those owners 75 and older only represent 26 percent of the total number of owners — so there are fewer of them — but they own more land. He says when dig deeper into the numbers you can see more of the the impact of age on ownership.

“Owners 55 years old and younger — they own 16 percent of the farmland — but they account for 25 percent of all owners,” Plastina explains, ” so the scale of these farms is much smaller for the younger farmers.”

This survey is done every five years and Plastina says it continues to show the owners of the land stay close to it.

“Fifty-five percent of the farmland in Iowa is owned by farmers who live on the owned farmland. Either on the farmland surveyed or other owned farmland in Iowa,” Plastina says.

Plastina says the survey gives an indication of how the methods and science of farming has changed. More and more farmland owners now have a college or graduate degree.

“They account for almost 40 percent of all farmland (owners) as of 2017, and that portion was 17 percent in 1982,” according to Plastina.

The survey finds 57 percent of all farmland is owned by someone who does not actively farm the land. Twenty-three percent of those owners who do not farm are retired farmers — while the rest is owned by those with no farming experience.


(story courtesy of Radio Iowa)