Iowa State University agricultural economist Mike Duffy is releasing the results from the 2012 Farmland Ownership Survey and says it appears the economy has been good to Iowa’s young people.
Duffy says, “We’re seeing an increase in the land owned by people under the age of 35 and I think this is a reflection of the boom period.”
Duffy says more young adults see opportunities on the farm and are returning to rural areas of the state after college. But, he says the youngest landowners are also the most likely to be holding mortgages.
Among all pieces of Iowa farmland, 78% are owned free of debt.
On the other side of the coin, Duffy says some farmers are working into their 70s and 80s and the demographics of farmland ownership reflect that.
Duffy says, “We now have 30% of the land, three in every ten acres, is owned by somebody over the age of 75.” He expected that number to be even higher.
Still, he says young people are buying land, while the percentage of land owned by the mid-career age group has declined slightly. Iowa State conducts its farmland ownership survey every five years.