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Farmland Meetings Across NW Iowa

By Staff | Jul 14, 2015

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.

In Northwest Iowa, the result is many conversations and negotiations between farmland owners and producer-tenants to determine what makes sense for farmland leases and cash rental rates.

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.

These workshops will be held across northwest Iowa counties starting July 23 through July 31.

Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present 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.

“Year after year, I receive numerous contacts from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates,” says O’Rourke.

“The interest in and conversations about farm leasing arrangements continues to grow, and 2015 is no different,” O’Rourke noted. “We always have good attendance and discussion at these meetings.”

“Due to the volatility of land and commodity markets, we have seen had increased inquiries regarding flexible cash lease methodologies,” says O’Rourke. “There are dozens of methods for putting together flexible cash lease arrangements, and we will work through several examples.”

O’Rourke has also had calls from landowners about filing landlord liens to help assure the rent is paid, so she will be present some information on that topic.”

O’Rourke has also seen that farmland owners and producer-tenants need to have more conversation about the cost of inputs to put in the crop and reasonable expectations on profit margins.

“ISU Extension and Outreach has good resources for people to use to gain an understanding of how crop input costs can be considered in setting cash lease rates, and I’ll show how those can be used.”

O’Rourke also 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 find that children and surviving spouses may be 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.”

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.”

Registration Information

The registration fee is charged to cover costs and includes a 90-page workbook. Pre-registration is preferred by calling the local County Extension hosting the meeting. Walk-ins may attend for a slightly higher 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

Area meeting locations, dates, times and contact phone numbers include the following:

Thursday, July 23

Le Mars – Plymouth County Call 712-546-7835 6:30 p.m.: LeMars Convention Center Lower Level

Monday, July 27

Spirit Lake – Dickinson County Call 712-336-3488 6:30 p.m.: Extension Office

Tuesday, July 28

Sergeant Bluff-Woodbury County Call 712-276-2157 9 a.m.: Sergeant Bluff Community Center

Orange City – Sioux County Call 712-737-4230 1:30 p.m.: Extension Office

Rock Rapids – Lyon County Call 712-472-2576 6:30 p.m.: Forster Community Center

Wednesday, July 29

Emmetsburg – Palo Alto County Call 712-852-2865 9 a.m.: Extension Office (Old Library Bldg)

Estherville – Emmet County Call 712-362-3434 1:30 p.m.: Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative

Spencer – Clay County Call 712-262-2264 6:30 p.m.: 4H Auditorium-Clay County Fairgrds

Thursday, July 30

Laurens – Pocahontas County Call 712- 335-3103 9 a.m.: West Iowa Bank in Laurens

Storm Lake-Buena Vista County Call 712-732-5056 1:30 p.m.: Extension Office

Cherokee-Cherokee County Call 712-225-6196 6:30 p.m.: Western Iowa Tech CC Auditorium

Friday, July 31

Sheldon-O’Brien County Call 712-957-5045 9 a.m.: Northwestern Bank meeting room