In 3 of 4 top US agricultural regions, non-operating owners own more than 30% of the land

November 18, 2015

“Non-operating landowners play a significant role in U.S. agriculture. Ownership status affects whether the benefits and risks of owning farmland accrue to active farmers or non-operating landowners. Three of the top four regions in terms of land in agriculture (Northern and Southern Plains and the Corn Belt) have non-operating owners owning more than 30 percent of the land. Non-operators owned 29 percent of all land in farms in 2007, and they owned 77 percent of farmland that is rented. Non-operators tend to be older, less likely to live on the farm, and less likely to participate in conservation programs. Despite recent increases in foreign ownership of forest land, as of February 2009, only 1.7 percent of privately owned land in farms or forest, or 22.8 million acres, was owned by foreigners.”] Lavender, Mike, “Farming Isn’t a Requirement to Claim Farm Subsidies,” (Environmental Working Group, October 9, 2013), Accessed November 21, 2013, http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2013/10/farming-isn-t-requirement-claim-farm-su.... [“Under the law, an individual who’s “actively engaged in farming” is entitled to claim a farm subsidy, but the new report found that USDA’s Farm Service Agency, which distributes the money, uses a definition of “actively engaged” that is way too broad. This allowed approximately $736 million to go in 2012 to people who didn’t actually farm. In some cases they didn’t even live in the same state as the farm.”]

 

Morehart, Mitchell, Todd Kuethe, Jayson Beckman, Jennifer Ifft, and Ryan Williams, Trends in US farmland values and ownership, (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, February, 2012), Acessed January 27, 2014, http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/377487/eib92_2_.pdf.

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