A recent study from Iowa State University found 84% of Iowa farmland is owned without outstanding debt. The number is the highest on record. However, even as more farms are owned outright, the land area being leased is up by 1 million acres over the last six years. Landowners are also directly operating their farmland less frequently. The study found only 42% of landowners report operating their farms. This is a decrease of five percentage points from 2017.

According to one Iowa State associate professor, the rise in leased land and decrease in direct landowner involvement likely reflects landowners themselves. Many only live in the state part of the time, if at all. As Iowa landowners age, ownership is also moving away from sole or joint ownership to a trust.

Learn more about the changing landscape of Iowa farmland with AgWeb.