fbpx Skip to content

Most of the U.S. Rented Farmland is Owned by Non-Farmers

Share

 

WASHINGTON, Aug 31, 2015 –Agricultural producers rented and farmed 353.8 million acres of farmland, according to the results of the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey results released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Of these acres, 80 percent are owned by non-farming landlords.

According to the survey results, rented farmland acres, combined with buildings on this land, are valued at more than $1.1 trillion. TOTAL counted approximately 2.1 million landlords with various ownership arrangements. In 2014, all of the landlords combined received $31.2 billion in rental income while incurring $9.2 billion in total expenses.

A tenth of the 911 million U.S. farmland acres outside of Alaska and Hawaii, or about 91.5 million acres, is slated for ownership transfer in the next five years, not including farmland that is in or is expected to be put into wills. Landlords expect to keep or put nearly 48 percent of these acres in trusts. Only 21 million acres of land are expected to be sold to a non-relative, while 26 million acres are expected to be sold to a relative or given as a gift. This means that only a small percentage of farmland will be available for new entrants into the farming sector.

“Farmland has always been a valuable resource, but what we see in the most recent TOTAL results is the emergence of farmland as a future investment,” said Joseph T. Reilly, NASS Administrator. “More families are creating trust ownerships to make sure land remains in their family for farming or as an investment.”

In addition to looking at farmland, TOTAL also provides a glimpse into demographic information for 1.4 million non-farming individuals and principals in partnerships arrangements, also known as principal landlords. According to the findings, the average age of these landlords is 66.5 years old. This age exceeds that of the average farmer, who is 58.3 years old, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture. Only 18 percent of all principal landlords were under 55 years old. Nearly 45 percent of all of the principal landlords have never farmed.
TOTAL, which NASS conducted in cooperation with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), surveyed farmland ownership in 48 contiguous states. It is the only NASS survey that collects agricultural landlord data. The survey is expected to greatly contribute to research and policy analysis. Farmland ownership and decisions stemming from ownership arrangements are key issues for which ERS serves as a primary source of information.

“Access to land is one of the biggest challenges facing agricultural producers, particularly beginning farmers,” said Mary Bohman, ERS Administrator. “TOTAL gives us a chance to demonstrate the extent of the land access issue and provide realistic projections of future land availability for purchase or for rent.”

To access the complete 2014 TOTAL results, in addition to key data highlights, methodology, and Frequently Asked Questions, visit http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/TOTAL/ or the Quick Stats database at http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov.

###

NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. We invite you to provide occasional feedback on our products and services. Sign up at http://bit.ly/NASS_Subscriptions and look for “NASS Data User Community.”

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

Did we reach you?

Help us continue telling stories that matter.

We provide a megaphone for the practical voices of conservation-minded land stewards; voices too often shouted down or crowded out in our polarized age. If you appreciate nuance, pragmatism, and a willingness to deal honestly with thorny issues in your information sources, please consider making a gift to WLA today to help us continue that work.

Posted in ,

Birds got no Beef with Burger

Opening the pickup door and stepping out onto native grass, the sun begins to rise amidst the sound of the dawn chorus. I listen to the melodic tinkling of a Baird’s sparrow (my favorite song, and also set as my morning phone alarm); the downward whirl of the Sprague’s pipit (my ring tone); the buzz of the Brewer’s sparrows, the joyful couplets of the McCown’s longspur. The chestnut-collared longspurs are chasing each other in play, or fight.

Tenacity + Solidarity + Creativity

One cold, dark, November night, I was lost somewhere outside the small town of Walden, CO, searching for a bison ranch. I had taken time off from my marketing job at Whole Foods Market to help during the outfit’s annual bison roundup. With no cell service, I was becoming increasingly concerned about finding the ranch. Self-doubt kicked in. When I finally had service I called my husband. “Is this normal?! For a 30-some year old woman to be spending her free time showing up at some ranch not knowing where she is going to sleep, what she is going to eat, to learn about a completely new profession?!” My husband replied, “No, but do it anyway.”

Stay up to date on policy changes and new developments.

Western Landowners Alliance will send you the latest developments and policy updates important to the economic and ecological health of working lands.

WLA works on behalf of landowners and practitioners throughout the West. We will never share your contact information with anyone. You can manage your subscription or unsubscribe at any time.

©2019 Western Landowners Alliance • PO BOX 6278, Santa Fe, NM 87502 • 505.466.1495 • Privacy Policy

Scroll To Top