Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rented land prominent in countryside

Approximately 39% of the 911 million acres of farmland in the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. is rented. More than half of cropland is rented, compared with just over 25% of pasture­land, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s "U.S. Farmland Ownership, Tenure & Transfer" report. Report author Dan Bigelow, an Economic Research Service economist, said rented acreage is much more prevalent in areas with cash grains up and down the Mississippi River and areas of the Midwest where corn and soybeans are grown, with some areas at upwards of 50-60%. There are also higher percentages of rented acres in areas with other cash grains, such as rice, wheat and cotton. Relative to crop farms, livestock producers tend to rent fewer acres overall. The rental percentages for cattle and dairy operations coincide with the fact that pastureland is rented at a lower rate than cropland. Pastureland is often cheaper than cropland, the report noted, making it less financially burdensome for farmers and ranchers to purchase land to begin a new operation or expand an existing one. Second, renting land allows farmers to adjust their land margins in response to changing economic conditions...more

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