Conservation Expenditures by Farmers

Source: 2011 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll Summary Report

Today Iowa State University researchers released the 2011 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll Summary Report.  The poll received responses from 1,276 Iowa farmers and examines the following issues:

  • Climate Change
  • Conservation
  • Internet Usage
  • Agricultural Drainage
  • Balancing Budgets
  • What Farmers Prefer to be Called
The following portion of the summary may be of particular interest to non-farming landowners and should spur additional conversations about who is responsible for stewardship and conservation on leased farmland.
“Examined as a whole, the conservation data from the 2011 Farm Poll indicate that there is substantial room for improvement. Many farmers were unfamiliar with major agricultural conservation programs. Many expressed uncertainty about whether or not conservation funding and other assistance is adequate or not. Nearly half of farmers had not consulted with their local USDA Service Center office regarding conservation in the previous two years. Perhaps most significantly, more than half of farmers reported that they had not invested any money in conservation over the previous 10 years, and an additional 21 percent reported spending less than $5,000 (table 7). These findings are cause for concern given that soil erosion and water quality impairment continue to be major problems across Iowa.”
It may be worth pointing out that the 2010 Farm and Rural Life Poll Report, “Rented Land in Iowa: Social and Environmental Dimensions,” found that over one-third of the farmers polled stated that it’s the responsibility of the landowner to ensure proper stewardship of the land.  Further, Iowa’s conservation law creates a duty of stewardship that applies to landowners, not necessarily farmers.