More than half of Iowa farmland is rented. In some Iowa locations, as much as 70 percent of the land is farmed by farmers who don't own the land.
Northwest Iowa farmland values increased by close to 37 percent during 2012 and average farmland cash rental rates have increased by nearly 27 percent since 2011 and over 51 percent during the past five years.
These are just a few reasons why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers workshops designed to answer questions that land owners and tenants have about farmland leasing and land values.
A Farmland Leasing and Land Values workshop will be held at Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative at 702 South 1st Ave. Estherville on Wednesday, July 31 at 1:30 pm.
Melissa O'Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present information about a wide range of topics related to farmland values and leasing. O'Rourke is a licensed attorney with extensive experience in working with farm, ranch and agribusiness interests.
"Each year I receive numerous contacts from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates," says O'Rourke.
"Due to the increases in land values and cash rents, there is definitely a heightened interest in farm leasing arrangements," O'Rourke noted
O'Rourke noted several other trends in farmland ownership and leasing.
"Due to the volatility of land and commodity markets, we have seen had increased inquiries regarding flexible cash lease methodologies. For this reason, we have more focus on these kinds of arrangements. We will work through examples of various strategies for flexible cash leases."
Another area O'Rourke noted is the increasing age of farmland owners.
"ISU Extension research indicates that the average age of farmland owners continues to rise," stated O'Rourke. "Fifty-five percent of Iowa's farmland is owned by people over the age of 65, while 28 percent of the land is owned by individuals over age 75. We also find that children and surviving spouses of farmers are less likely to continue operating the farm themselves. That's a major reason why farmland leasing continues to increase."
O'Rourke encourages anyone with an interest in farmland rental rates to attend these meetings. "Both farmland owners and producer-tenants should attend. In fact, the ideal situation is for these folks to attend together and then sit down at the kitchen table to discuss their farm lease arrangements for the coming year."
O'Rourke explained that workshop attendees will receive a comprehensive workbook packed with information about land values, leasing and different types of farm lease arrangements.
"Everyone should leave with a heightened understanding of farmland leasing," she said
A registration fee of $20 per person is charged to cover costs and includes a 90-page workbook. Please pre-register by July 29 by calling Emmet County Extension at(712) 362-3434. Walk-ins may attend for a $25 fee at the door.
More information about this and other farmland leasing meetings in Iowa can be found at ISU Extension's Ag Decision Maker website: www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm.