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Absent Landlords in Agriculture -- A Statistical Analysis

Siraj Bawa () and Scott Callahan

No 310203, USDA Miscellaneous from United States Department of Agriculture

Abstract: The majority of rented farmland is owned by landlords who do not operate farms, and a subset of these landlords, known as absent landlords, do not reside in the local farming area. This raises important questions about their effects on the economic health of the U.S. farm sector. Absent landlords have the potential to alter observed outcomes in agricultural real estate markets, rural employment markets, and engagement in conservation practices, given that the incentives they face may differ from operating or local nonoperator landlords. This study looks at the association between landlord absenteeism and multiple measures of long-term economic and agricultural health for the 25 most important agricultural States by cash receipts. We find that a greater prevalence of absent landlords is associated with lower rental rates and land values at the State level, and there is no association with recent changes in rents or land values. Also, while we find mixed results with respect to investments in soil quality, we do find evidence that the prevalence of absent landlords is associated with declining local employment rates. This study is designed to foster a broad discussion and form a starting point for subsequent statistical analyses to uncover the causal effects that absent landlords have on long-term economic health of agricultural production.

Keywords: Agribusiness; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Crop Production/Industries; Farm Management; Land Economics/Use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 35
Date: 2021-03-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-ure
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.310203

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