Long Distance Farming on the Rise

Long distance or absentee farming is on the rise according too recent agricultural surveys, leading to some farmers worrying about the decline of family farming operations and the concentration of agricultural power in the hands of large-scale agribusinesses.
Recent shifts in farmland values and real estate prices have helped accelerate long-term patterns that have been in the making for more than twenty years. In 1982, for example, absentee farmers owned about 15 percent of farmland in the Iowa (the center of the Corn Belt). By 2007, this ratio had changed to more than 21 percent.
While technological innovations, particularly the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, has made long distance farming more feasible, some farm experts are wary of the change. “Ownership of Iowa’s farmland and access to the use of the land is critical for the future of the State. The impact of the ownership on both beginning farmers and the retiring farmers will be crucial,” said Mark Duffy of Iowa State University. “The current situation with respect to farmland ownership in Iowa is a good topic for discussion among landlords, family or heirs, and agribusiness professionals.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer