The Other 80%

Of the farmland in the continental U.S.A., 353.8 million acres of those acres aren’t owned by those who farm the land. Over one third of American farmland is rented out, and 80% of the rented ground is owned by non-farmers.

Many land owners rent their acreage out because they do not have the means to or do do not wish to farm the land on their own. The majority of people owning the last big farms are widows in their 60s who have no way of doing the work on their own.

The 911 million acres of American farmland are easily considered a highly valuable resources. This past Tuesday, Ag Web, powered by Farm Journal, reported on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey.

TOTAL is currently the only survey that gathers data on land ownership, and the survey shows great potential in the market. NASS administrator Joseph T. Reilly said:

“Farmland has always been a valuable resource, but what we see in most recent TOTAL results is the emergence of farmland as a future investment. More families are creating trust ownerships to make sure land remains in their family for farming or as an investment.”

In the next five years, 10% of American farmland will change owners. The problem arises when at some point in the land transfer an owner no longer thinks of agriculture or farming as a lucrative enough source of income for the land.

With the agricultural sector under pressures to feed an ever-growing population and Americans demanding fewer imported products, prices for farmland reach new highs. At the same time, developers want the same land for projects and will pay top dollar for sites.

Farmers who operate in the break-even margin cannot afford to buy lands from owners so the chance of it being sold to developers is always present.

But if even only a few farmland owners each year sell to developers, America will no longer have the means to sustain its population and reach a new level of national hunger.

See AgWeb’s full article here:


2 thoughts on “The Other 80%

  1. I really liked reading something Ag related. I just switched my major from ag business to journalism so it was nice reading something that hit home. My dad owns 1,500+ acres of land and in his will, it states that my 3 brothers and I will each get a quarter of the land after he passes. We’ve had multiple conversations within our family about what we will do with our share and we agreed as a family to keep the land and continue farming it because that’s the best profit and smartest decision economically and world wide. If more farmers keep selling their land to businessmen, how will we all get fed? Not many people think about the future and cause/effect which will continue to be a problem.

    Sorry for the long post – I think you did a really good job though!


  2. I found this very interesting as well as eye opening. Farmers do the behind the scenes work most don’t realize, without a timed schedule, weekends off, or sick days. And to think someone who cherishes the lands worth can be overruled and overpriced by a suit and tie that only sees worth as dollar signs. I pass by this farm daily on my way to Murray and out by the road they have a sign that reads “If you’re well fed, thank God, then thank a farmer.”


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