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Advancing Understanding of Conservation Practices on Rented Land

Nearly 40% of farmland in the United States is rented or leased from agricultural landowners (USDA NASS 2015), the majority of whom are nonoperator landowners (NOLs). NOLs are increasingly identified as a group of landowners who should be included when discussing environmental issues on agricultural lands. Yet, who NOLs are and what we know about them in terms of conservation practices is limited. Comprehensive, national-scale data on NOLs in the United States have been provided only three times in history, coming from the Agricultural Economic Land Ownership Surveys (AELOS) that collected information from both landowners and renters in 1988 and 1999 as follow-ups to the periodic Census of Agriculture (in 1987 and 1997, respectively) and the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land Survey (TOTAL) survey. While these surveys contribute to our understanding of NOLs, there are many things we still do not yet know, particularly related to NOL conservation values, practices, and informational needs. In addition, most of the existing research on NOLs is from studies conducted in the Midwest (Ulrich-Schad et al. 2016). While the study findings have provided policymakers and practitioners with a sense of what NOLs in the Midwest look like, what NOLs look like in other geographical regions is yet to be explored but essential for getting more conservation practices implemented on rented agricultural lands.

Publication Name
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Peggy Petrzelka, Matthew J. Barnett, Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, Jennifer Filipiak
Ankeny, IA: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Page Numbers
Publication Date
March 01, 2021
Publication Type
Environmental Benefits, Women in Agriculture

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