Who will farm the land and how will it be farmed? This presentation will address these two fundamental questions by making several observations on the history and current situation and then draw inferences about where this might be leading us.
The first observation is that the age of the farmland owner is increasing and increasing at a rapid rate. The percent of Iowa farmland owned by people over 65 has increased from 12 percent in 1910 to 55 percent in 2007. Today in Iowa one in ten acres is owned by a single female over 75 years of age.
A second observation is that the percent of land rented has not changed much over time. Approximately 35 percent of the land in the US has been rented over the past century and in Iowa approximately 50 percent has been rented. Both the US and Iowa experienced an increase in the percent of land rented during the Great Depression. But since then the percentage has remained relatively stable. Does this observation coincide with the observation that we have an aging land owner population? Wouldn’t we expect to see an increase in the percent of land being rented?
How have these changes impacted the opportunities for a beginning farmer? How have they impacted the potential for conservation? These are the questions that will be explored by this presentation.