ISU Extension keeps its fingers on the pulse of Iowa’s farm and rural population each year with the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. In the 2007 poll more than 1,000 agricultural producers voiced their opinions related to the bioeconomy, bias and information about ethanol, grain storage and transportation, alternative energy, land use issues and farming plans. “There are a lot of retirements on the near horizon,” said ISU Extension sociologist J. Arbuckle. The next five years will see retirements as well as some changes in land ownership, though production practices likely will not change significantly.
Arbuckle said a significant proportion of farmers — 28 percent — stated they would probably or definitely retire from farming over the next five years. An additional 21 percent were undecided. Five percent indicated they would leave farming for another profession.
Yet as one population plans to disengage from farming, another plans to ramp up. About 18 percent plan to buy more land, and 16 percent plan to rent more land. Those planning to rent more land over the next one to two years estimated they would rent an additional 224 acres on average, Arbuckle said.
The 12-page summary report will be available in December from ISU Extension’s Online Store as well as from ISU Extension county offices. Additional reports are planned on farmer entrepreneurship, the bioeconomy and grain handling. For more information contact Arbuckle, firstname.lastname@example.org.