Owning nearly half of the farmland in Iowa, women landowners play an influential role in decisions that impact agriculture and natural resources.
To better understand this demographic, a team of specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is beginning a three-year project to study the needs, challenges and opportunities of women landowners.
The project is called “Enhancing Conservation, Access and Generational Transition of Iowa Farmland through Women Landowners” and is being funded through a $300,000 grant by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
According to the 2017 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey, 47% of all acres and 55% of all leased acres in Iowa were owned by women. In addition, most owners were over the age of 65 and 13% of female farmland owners in Iowa were over 80.
Madeline Schultz, program manager for the farm management team’s women in ag program with ISU Extension and Outreach and the project’s lead, said the disconnect between ownership and operator can sometimes lead to a disconnect with land-based decision making, whether that’s with leasing, conservation, farmland transition or a combination.