Most of Pennsylvania farmland owned by nonfarmers

raking hay
raking hay

HARRISBURG — Agricultural producers in Pennsylvania rented and farmed 2.34 million acres of farmland, according to the results of the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land survey results released Aug. 31, by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Of these acres, 85 percent are owned by non-farming landlords, said King Whetstone, director of the USDA’s NASS Northeastern Region.

NASS conducted the survey in cooperation with the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), to get a better insight into who owns U.S. farmland, said Whetstone.

The program was the first time NASS surveyed farmland landlords since 1999. The survey results provide analysis of rented farmland acreage, by landlord arrangements, land use, transfer methods (or expectations), and economics.

Other owners

Non-operator landlord ownership arrangements, such as partnerships, corporations, trusts, and other types of ownership, were also analyzed. According to the survey results, rented farmland acres, combined with buildings on this land, are valued at more than $13.1 billion.

The program tabulated 60,493 landlords with various ownership arrangements. In 2014, all of the landlords combined received $173.4 million in rental income while incurring $134.6 million in total expenses.

In addition to looking at farmland, the program also provides a glimpse into demographic information for the 46,410 non-farming individuals and principals in partnerships arrangements, also known as principal landlords.

According to the findings, the average age of these landlords is 62.7 years old. This age exceeds that of the average farmer, who is 56.1 years old, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture.

Never farmed

Of the principal landlords, 56.5 percent never farmed. Cropland made up 90 percent of all Pennsylvania farmland rented, while 4 percent were pasture acres rented.

The rest of the rented farmland in Pennsylvania in other uses, including forest land.

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