Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Only 2% of farmland will be available to new farmers, USDA survey finds

More families are creating trust investments to make sure farm land remains in the family, leaving less land for beginning farmers, Daniel Enoch reports for Agri-Pulse. A U.S. Department of Agriculture survey shows that about a 10 percent "of the 911 million farmland acres outside of Alaska and Hawaii—about 91.5 million acres—is slated for ownership transfer in the next five years, not including farmland that is in or expected to be put into wills."

Landlords are expect to keep or put nearly 48 percent of these acres in trusts, Enoch writes. "Some 26 million acres are expected to be sold to a relative or given as a gift, and only 21 million acres are expected to be sold to a non-relative. This means that only a small percentage of farmland—just over 2 percent—will be available for new entrants into the farming sector."

"The survey showed that 353.8 million acres of land were rented out for agricultural purposes by more than 2 million landowners last year," for about 39 percent of total farmland, Enoch writes. "Of the 2 million or so landowners, 13 percent were farmers and ranchers, and 87 percent were landlords who do not operate a farm."

Joseph T. Reilly, administrator for USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, said "the total value of the land and buildings on the rented acres was $1.1 trillion," Enoch writes. "About 63 percent of the total land rented was for cropland, and 34 percent was for pasture. Non-operator landlords leased oil and gas rights on 31.9 million acres and sold those rights on 4.1 million acres. Out of total farmland, oil and gas rights were leased on 61 million acres and sold on 11.3 million." (Read more)

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