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Most rented farmland in the United States owned by people outside agriculture

As much as 80% of rented land is owned by non-farmers

By Diego Flammini,

The 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey shows that of the 353.8 million rented acres of farmland in the United States, nearly 80% (or about 282,400,000 acres) of it is owned by people or entities outside of the agricultural 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 (National Agricultural Statistics Service) Administrator. “More families are creating trust ownerships to make sure land remains in their family for farming or as an investment.”

According to the survey, which was released by NASS, the rented farmland acres and buildings on the land are valued at more than $1.1 trillion. 2.1 million landlords combined to receive $31.2 billion in rental income compared to $9.2 billion in expenses.

The survey also detailed the demographics of who exactly owns the farmland. TOTAL found that the average landlord was about 66 years old, compared to the average farmer, who is 58 years old. TOTAL also found that nearly 45% of the landlords had never operated a farm.

TOTAL Highlights

The top five states in terms of rent received are:
1. Illinois ($3.8 billion)
2. Iowa ($3.7 billion)
3. Nebraska ($2.4 billion)
4. Minnesota ($2.0 billion)
5. Texas ($2.0 billion)

The Midwest accounts for $3.7 billion in landlord expenses
16% of farmland was purchased from a relative
35% of farmland was inherited or received as a gift

Join the conversation and tell us your thoughts on the recent TOTAL survey.

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