Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The changing complexion of farmland

In 1982, 94 percent of the state's farmland was owned by people who lived in Iowa, according to data compiled by Iowa State University.

But that resolve has waned. When the U.S.'s rural economy eroded in the wake of the 1980s farm collapse, many families encouraged their progeny to leave the land and find their economic fortune in America's cities.

The kids left. Many of them they stayed away. As the years passed, that familial loyalty to the land faded.

Today, about 20 percent of Iowa farm land is owned by people who don't live in the state, according to Iowa State University data. The average Iowa farmland owner is a single woman - often a widow - who is over the age of 70.

from reuters story

The family farm is going away and the land ownership is moving to larger wealthier farmers or land corporations. Will this lead to better farmers? Unclear. It will lead to more opportunities to own land as piece of the production process.

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