Farmland Leasing and Land Values Informational Workshops offered across northeast Iowa

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers workshops designed to answer questions that land owners and tenants have about farmland leasing and land management issues.

These workshops will be held across northeast Iowa counties starting July 26 through August 16.

Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present a wide range of topics related to farmland values and leasing.

“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 2022 is no different,”

O’Rourke noted. “We expect strong attendance and discussion at these meetings.”

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 Northeast 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 – both fixed rent and flexible arrangements.

Strong landlord/tenant relationships are important for the long-term viability of Iowa’s farming communities.

“Due to the volatility of commodity and land markets, we’ve seen increased inquiries regarding both fixed and 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 also noted that ISU research indicates that on average, most farmers in Iowa are seeing a significant increase in what they pay for 2022 land rents. This is according to a recent survey of farmers, landowners and ag professionals who are familiar with 1.5 million cash rented acres across the state.

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 the increasing transition of farmland ownership. “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 and land management issues.”

Registration Information
A registration fee of $20 per person is charged to cover costs and includes a 100-page workbook. Pre-registration is preferred by calling the local County Extension office hosting the meeting. Walk-ins may attend for a $25 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:

• July 27, Fayette, 9 a.m., ISU Extension, 218 S Main St., RSVP to 563-425-3331
• August 10, Decorah, 9 a.m., ISU Extension, 2316 Sweet Parkway Road, RSVP to 563-382-2949
• August 10, Cresco, 1 p.m., Farm Bureau Bldg, 124 1st Ave W., RSVP to 563-547-3001
• August 11, New Hampton, 1 p.m., ISU Extension, 506 W Milwaukee St., RSVP to 641-394-2174
• August 16, Waukon, 9 a.m., ISU Extension, 218 7th Ave SE, RSVP to 563-568-6345
• August 16, Elkader, 1 p.m., Keystone AEA, 140 N 2nd St., RSVP to 563-245-1451

For registration information, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach County office. Pre-registration is encouraged as an additional $5 fee may be added if registering less than two calendar days before the meeting date. The registration fee is used to cover costs and includes a 100-page workbook.

The Ag Decision Maker leasing section also provides useful resource materials for negotiating leases, information on various types of leases, lease forms and newly updated Decision Tools.