Rental arrangements for cropland vary widely from one geographic area to another. What is desirable or equitable for one particular landowner/operator relationship is not acceptable for others. The purpose of this publication is to help operators and landowners develop equitable cash-rent arrangements and assist them in making sound decisions based on an equitable evaluation of resources.
Welcome to the literature area of the FIC Web site. Here you will find a collection of articles, books, fact sheets and technical memos, reports and studies related to saving farm and ranch land and supporting agriculture. You can filter by state, topic and/or type of document ("category"). Use the Search feature to conduct a more refined search.
The Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA) program was created as part of the Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative in the 2009 - 2011 biennial budget (2009 Act 28). State statute authorizes the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to designate up to 1 million acres statewide as agricultural enterprise areas.
Since 2009, in Wisconsin 22 AEAs totaling nearly 510,000 acres in 17 counties and 55 towns have been designated.
The Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey is a study of agricultural landowners—including non-operator landlords—conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). The survey provides data about land ownership, income, expenses, debt, assets, landlord characteristics, and agricultural landowners’ land transfer plans.
Private land trusts play an increasingly important role in farm and ranch land protection. However, it can be difficult for landowners to identify land trusts interested in protecting agricultural land for agriculture, especially in states not served by public farmland protection programs. With support from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), American Farmland Trust conducted its second nationwide survey of private land trusts to identify organizations that actively protect farm and ranch land for agriculture and to quantify the amount of agricultural land they have protected. Below you will find a summary of survey findings along with tables using data from the survey.
Despite their growing importance, we know very little about non-operating landowners and more importantly, even less about how best to reach, engage and motivate them. Limited research indicates that there may be a linkage between rented land and lack of conservation practices on the land, which results in detrimental environmental impacts. Even more troubling, some of the areas with the highest rates of rental land align with those experiencing high rates of nutrient losses. But the potential for positive change is great! In response to this data gap, American Farmland Trust partnered with Utah State University to conduct a survey of non-operator landowners. The AFT survey was developed in 2013-2014 by the Non-Operating Landowner National Survey Work Group. This group consists of researchers, practitioners and policy makers involved in working with and/or researching non-operating landowners.
Maryland has a long history of commitment to farmland preservation. The cornerstone of its efforts is the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF). MALPF was created in 1977 to “provide sources of agricultural products within the State for the citizens of the State; control the urban expansion which is consuming the agricultural land and woodland of the State; curb the spread of urban blight and deterioration; and protect agricultural land and woodland as open-space land.”
American Farmland Trust (AFT) conducted an evaluation of MALPF because—at 26 years—it is one of the oldest and most respected farmland protection programs in the country. AFT wanted to find out if MALPF has met the goals outlined by the General Assembly and to provide recommendations to help it become more effective in meeting these goals in the future.
Extensive research and analysis were conducted between 2000 and 2003, including: a review of other state farmland protection programs; regional focus groups of MALPF county program administrators; a survey of farmers and agribusiness representatives; interviews with Maryland’s Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Planning; active participation in the state MALPF Task Force; and a summary of state-level agricultural viability programs.
Overall, AFT found that MALPF has met its goals, but the economics of farming have changed. In particular:
• MALPF has been, and continues to be, essential to the future of agriculture in Maryland;
• MALPF plays an important role in balancing growth in Maryland;
• Maryland needs additional policies and programs outside the scope of MALPF to sustain the viability of the state’s agriculture.
With the current economic strain and conversion pressure faced by rural landowners, MALPF is more needed than ever. As one dairy farmer indicated, “there would not be farming in Maryland without the program. You could not afford it.” This is the time to prove the state’s support of farmland preservation, the agricultural industry and Maryland’s rural economy with a serious commitment of resources and program innovations.
Rhode Island law allows property enrolled in the Farm, Forest and Open Space Program to be assessed at its current use, not its value for development. The purpose of the law is not to reduce property taxes, but to conserve Rhode Island’s productive agricultural and forest land by reducing the chance it will have to be sold for development.
This publication summarizes the rules and regulations and is intended to serve as a guide for property owners interested in enrolling their property in the Program.
This study looks at two alternate assumptions about property values. Some costs are allocated based on property values. In Indiana’s assessment system, all property except farmland is assessed at market value. Farmland is assessed at its use value in agriculture, which appears to be less than one-third its market value, on average. If costs are allocated with use value, the agricultural COCS ratios tend to be less than one. If costs are allocated with estimated market value, the ratios tend to be greater than one. It is not clear which assumption is more appropriate.
This study also looks at alternate assumptions about road construction and maintenance costs. County road costs are allocated based on vehicle use. Highway engineers find that heavy trucks produce most of the wear on roads. Passenger cars produce very little. The business and agricultural sectors own most of the trucks, and so impose most of the wear on roads. Allocating road costs to business and agriculture can reverse the traditional COCS results for county governments, depending on assumptions about how many miles trucks drive on county roads. Business and agriculture may impose more costs on counties than the revenues they pay. The data are not sufficient to reach a firm conclusion.
At the request of Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (LSWCD), American Farmland Trust (AFT) conducted a Cost of Community Services (COCS) study to find out the current net fiscal impact of existing land uses in Madison Village and Township in Lake County Ohio. The study analyzes revenues and expenditures on a land use basis for fiscal year 2006 (year ending December 31). It examines revenues by land use and the financial demands of public services (e.g., public works, sheriff, planning, general government) and shows the cost of providing these services to residential, commercial and industrial, farm, and forest land. This study is an update of a 1993 COCS study also done by AFT.
A tax credit for the preservation of historic barns.