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The Current Situation in Farmland Ownership; Implications for Conservation and the Next Generation National Farm Business Management Conference Fargo,

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Presentation on theme: "The Current Situation in Farmland Ownership; Implications for Conservation and the Next Generation National Farm Business Management Conference Fargo,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Current Situation in Farmland Ownership; Implications for Conservation and the Next Generation National Farm Business Management Conference Fargo, ND Michael Duffy, Director, Iowa State University Beginning Farmer Center

2 Outline Land owner demographics Tenancy Implications Discussion

3 Iowa Farmland Owner Demographics

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11 Farm Tenancy

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19 Impact on Conservation Concern over absentee ownership and conservation started in the 1930s. There was a general fear that as more people farmed land they didn’t own there would be less incentive for them to take care of the land. Many studies, commissions, government programs and so forth started in this time period.

20 Joke in 1930s “Owner : why do not you get busy and fix that leaky roof? Tenant: Because it is your roof Owner: Yes, but it is leaking on you Tenant: I know, but next year it won’t be.” (Rasmussen 1999)

21 Findings from several studies suggest that for short term conservation practices there isn’t too much difference between renters and owners. But, there are differences with respect to longer term conservation investments.

22 Impact on the Next Generation

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27 Next Generation Current generation doesn’t plan to fully retire, they plan on using the existing farm for a significant portion of their retirement income and they plan to divide the land equally among the heirs Access to land will be an issue for the next generation; its always been difficult but today’s demographic make the problems even more acute

28 Next Generation Income will be the key; how many families can be supported Will technology continue to push towards larger units meaning more rented land

29 Parting Thoughts The percent of farmland owned by those over 65 is continuing to increase and will likely do so for quite a while Increasing age in general, lack of alternative investments, lack of retirements and technological change all increase the age of the land owner

30 Parting Thoughts There will continue to be an increase in the ‘absentee’ landowner as farms get divided among the family Current heirs seem more likely to hold on to the land but it isn’t known what the succeeding generation will do Conservation, especially short term practices, should not be impacted by these changes.

31 Parting Thoughts In many respects these are not new problems but in other aspects they are new The next generation of agriculturalists will view the world differently and they could view the land differently too

32 Thank-you Mike Duffy 478 Heady Hall, ISU Ames, IA


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