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Market Insight: Iowa Farmland: 84% owned debt-free


A recent report from Iowa State University’s on-going farmland research offers a glimpse of changes in ownership, leases and succession. Among the findings:

  • 66% of Iowa’s farmland is owned by people over 65-years-old, which is up from 29% in 1982.
  • 46% of the Iowa’s land is owned by women, and they hold a larger share among senior owners.
  • 84% of Iowa farmland owned debt-free — the highest level ever recorded. In 1982, only 62% of land was owned debt-free.
  • 58% of Iowa’s farmland is under a lease, which is up 1 million acres since the study was last conducted in 2017.
  • 42% of farmland is directly operated by a landowner. That’s compares to 47% in 2017. 
  • 17% of farmland owners do not have a planned successor. 

Researchers’ findings also reveal farmland leases continue to be handled on a cash rent basis rather than crop share and owner-operated. Since 2017, cash rent, specifically fixed cash rent, has increased 5% to 87%.

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