; Women Managing Farmland in Iowa Survey Results | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Women Managing Farmland in Iowa Survey Results

Madeline Schultz and Lisa Scarbrough


Women farmland owners have significant and increasing roles in U.S. agriculture. Women’s decisions are of considerable importance to the farming community and future of the agricultural sector. ISU Extension and Outreach conducted a survey to increase understanding of Iowa’s women farmland owners’ challenges around three key management tasks: 1) Use of equitable leases, 2) Adoption of soil and water conservation practices, and 3) Implementation of efficient plans to transition farmland to next generation owners.

The 358 survey responses indicated 92.0% of women farmland owners are in a decision-making role. Among the owners who lease the farmland, 69 owners (40.0%) lease out all the farmland they own; and on average, 76.8% of farmland acres are leased out. Nearly all (98.0%) respondents selected one or more conservation practices being used, with grass waterways selected most often (68.8%). Most (88.4%) respondents have a will. Most also identified a potential individual who will eventually take over management of farmland (70.1%,) and/or an individual who will eventually take over ownership of farmland (85.2%). The top ways women would like to receive information are e-newsletters (48.3%), webinars (33.5%) and half-day in-person meetings (27.9%.)

The survey results heighten the importance of extension in providing women farmland owners with information they can use to meet long-term goals. Women can be effective change agents for more equitable farmland leasing, adoption of enhanced conservation practices, and greater efficiencies in transitioning to next generation farmers. All citizens benefit when extension supports women in improving agricultural sustainability through their farmland management decisions.