Iowa Public Television


Corporations Not Largest Farmland Owners

posted on June 17, 2005


Contrary to popular belief, corporations do not own a majority of farmland, at least not in Iowa. In the Hawkeye state, only 7 percent of the 31 million acres of farmland are owned by non-family corporations. According to Roger McEowen of Iowa State University, the bulk of the land, 77 percent, is owned by individuals, co-owners, and husbands and wives.

And another popular myth that bankers are the "biggest farmers" was debunked by the bankers themselves. Dan Black, a farm manager for Iowa State Bank and Trust acknowledged that financial institutions are listed on plat books only because the bank was the trustee for the estate. The reality of situation is the trust is the owner not the bank.

The only notable exception is the 26 thousand acres owned by the Amana Society, the corporate heir to a 300 year-old communal religious society. The farm was established in 1855, more than 100 years before the enactment of Iowa's 1987 anti-corporate farming legislation.

Tags: agriculture news real estate