Survey finds many Iowa farmers don’t believe higher land values are leading to better soil conservation
January 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson
Results of an annual poll show many of the state’s farmers believe farmland is overvalued and the market bubble will eventually burst. J. Gordon Arbuckle, co-director of the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, says nearly 13-hundred (1,300) farmers were asked a series of questions about land values and prices. An overwhelming number pointed to one major reason for the recent surge. “High grain prices, which really are the major drivers of land price increases right now, were the highest rated factor,” Arbuckle said. Around 90-percent of the farmers surveyed cited grain prices as a “strong or very strong influence” in land prices. Arbuckle, an Iowa State University sociologist, said he found the response to one survey question troubling.
“From an economic stand point, if something is more valuable, you would think that you would take better care of it. But, what we found was that almost 50 percent of the farmers disagreed with that statement and said they did not believe that the increase in land values were leading to a greater commitment to soil conservation,” Arbuckle said. The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been conducted by a number of agricultural agencies since 1982. It’s the longest running survey of its kind in the nation. In the 2012 survey, the average age of the farmers who responded was 64.