>A farmer with long-term plans to lease farmland has as much incentive as
>an owner in maintaining soil quality. Therefore, ag land renting can be
>an efficient land tenure arrangement.
>Richard L. Bowen
>Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
>University of Hawaii
This can be true in theory. However, long term arrangements are are
difficult to keep in an increasingly competitive market. One area farmer
recently lost 680 acres he had farmed since 1991, because the land sold
recently for $3229 per acre (FYI, that means the 680 acre parcel sold for
$2.2 million). We're in 150 bushel corn and 45 bushel beans/acre country
here. Figure how long one has to raise corn and beans to pay for that. Or
how much is anyone going to build fertility if corn gets to next year's
predicted range of $2.10 to 2.25/bushel?
Secondly, the bigger farmers continually outbid other tenants for scarce
land. Forty million acres of U.S. farmland have been lost since 1970
according to American Farmland Trust.
I don't find any comfort in these trends.
Steve Bonney, President
Indiana Sustainable Agriculture Association
100 Georgton Ct.
W. Lafayette IN 47906
(317) 463-9366, fax (317) 497-0164