Iowa farmers entered 2020 with uncertainty regarding trade agreements with China and the uncertainty has escalated with the impacts of COVID-19.  Farming continues – including decisions on farmland rental arrangements.
With ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide free webinars to reach individuals who prefer to avoid in-person gatherings.
The programs are offered to address questions from landowners, tenants or others with  interest in leasing and managing farmland.
The free 90-minute webinars will be offered on August 10 at 6 to 7:30pm; and again on August 14 at 9:30 to 11am.  Pre-registration is required. 
Landowners, producers and ag professionals in Buchanan County can pre-register for either webinar in several ways.
One option is to log onto an ISU Extension web address   A full flyer will open, showing the two dates and times – and the registrant can click on the link for the meeting desired.
Anyone needing assistance with registration can call the Buchanan County Extension office at 319-334-7161 and a staff member will assist. 
Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present a wide range of topics related to farmland leasing and management.
O’Rourke is a licensed attorney with extensive experience in working with farm, ranch and agribusiness interests.
O’Rourke notes that in more than half of Iowa farmland is rented, resulting in many conversations and negotiations between farmland owners and producer-tenants to determine what makes sense for farmland leases and cash rental rates – both fixed rent and flexible arrangements.  Strong landlord/tenant relationships are important for the long-term viability of Iowa’s farming communities.
 “The interest in and conversations about farm leasing arrangements continues to grow, this is no different as we move toward 2021,” O’Rourke noted.  “There are dozens of methods for putting together flexible cash lease arrangements, and we will work through several examples.” 
O’Rourke also noted the increasing age of farmland owners.   “ISU Extension research indicates that 55 percent of Iowa's farmland is owned by people over the age of 65, while 28 percent of the land is owned by individuals over age 75.  We find that children and surviving spouses may be less likely to continue operating the farm themselves.  That’s a major reason why farmland leasing continues to increase.”
O’Rourke encourages anyone with an interest in farmland rental rates to register for one of the webinars, which are available to anyone in Iowa or beyond.
Webinar participants will receive free access to a 100-page comprehensive resource book packed with information about land values, leasing and different types of farm lease arrangements.  There are a limited number of bound books available which can be mailed for a fee – requests should be directed to the county ISU Extension office.
Participants will also have later access to a recorded version of the webinar, as well as follow-up videos recorded by O’Rourke.
“We are working to give everyone access to as much comprehensive information as possible via these online tools.”
Registration Information
Pre-register for either webinar by logging onto an ISU Extension web address   A full flyer will open, showing the two dates and times – and the registrant can click on the link for the meeting desired.
More information about this and other farmland leasing meetings in Iowa can be found at ISU Extension’s Ag Decision Maker website:

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