The Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey was just released and is available on the ISU Ag. Decision Maker website ( The survey was conducted by Economist Wendong Zhang with assistance from PhD student Jingyi Tong. Since 1989, the survey is conducted every 5 years as required by the Iowa code. The survey this year presents a 40 year perspective (1982 – 2022) on changes in Iowa agriculture with implications for the future.

Iowa landowners are aging. Two thirds of Iowa land is owned by people over 65 (up from 29% in 1982) with 37% of land owned by people over 75. 46% of Iowa land is owned by women and 13% is owned by women over 80.

55% of Iowa land is owned by people who do not actively farm (retired farmers, widows, heirs, outside interests, etc.). 29% of Iowa farmland is owned by people with no farming experience. 20% of Iowa farmland is owned by someone who is not an Iowa resident. 70% of non-resident owners have no farming experience.

58% of Iowa farmland is leased with fixed (42%) and flexible (9%) cash rent leases the most popular rental methods.

47% of landowners intend to will or give their farmland to family members. Other popular transfer methods would be to form a family trust (26%) or a business entity (12%). 75% of landowners would prefer to sell to a beginning farmer but most expressed concerns about the difficulty finding qualified beginning farmers able to pay top prices.

Higher farmland prices and interest rates, demand for urban development, foreign ownership, integration and consolidation limiting input suppliers and competitive markets, all present opportunities and challenges which will shape rural Iowa in the future.

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