Land Use, Land Value & Tenure
Agricultural production is a major use of land, accounting for
around 51 percent of the U.S. land base. Land use and land-use
changes have important economic and environmental implications for
commodity production and trade, open space, soil and water
conservation, air quality and atmospheric greenhouse gas
concentrations, and other areas of interest.
Worth $1.85 trillion
*, farm real estate (land and structures) accounted for 85
percent of the total value of U.S. farm assets in 2010.
Because it comprises such a significant portion of the balance
sheet of U.S. farms, change in the value of farm real estate is a
critical barometer of the farm sector's financial
performance. Changes in farmland values also affect the
financial well-being of agricultural producers, because farm real
estate is the largest single component in a typical farmer's
investment portfolio and it serves as the principal source of
collateral for farm loans.
Farmland ownership trends identify the extent to which the
benefits of farmland ownership accrue to individuals who farm, or
to non-operators (landowners who do not themselves farm) who own
land for investment or other purposes. About 40 percent of U.S.
farmland has been rented over the last 25 years. Non-operators
owned 29 percent of land in farms in 2007, though that proportion
has declined since 1992.
ERS conducts research on a range of land use, value and tenure
- Trends in major land uses
- Trends in farmland values
- Impacts of government policies and programs on land use and
- Trends in farmland ownership
Two recent reports cover the topics of land use, land value, and
tenure, see Major Uses of
Land in the United States, 2007 (EIB-89, December 2011)
and Trends in U.S.
Farmland Values and Ownership (EIB-92, February 2012).
* On July 26, 2012, the word "billion" was changed to
"trillion" in the first sentence of the second paragraph on this