Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-270) 71 pp

March 2024

Farmland Rental and Conservation Practice Adoption

This report explores patterns across cropland owner-operators and cropland renters in the adoption of conservation tillage, cover cropping, and six permanent structural practices (riparian buffers, filter strips, field borders, terraces, grass waterways, and contour farming). Data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) (2011–21) on corn, soybeans, cotton, barley, and sorghum growers show little evidence of systemic differences in conservation practice adoption on owner-operated fields compared to cash-rented fields. Differences between owner-operated plots and share-rented plots persist for certain practices and regions of the United States. Using data from the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) Survey, the report also examines how the institutional factors surrounding farmland rental markets challenge the notion that land renters are inclined to exploit long-term soil quality for short-term profits.

How to Cite:

Burnett, J. W., Szurmlo, D., & Callahan, S. (2024). Farmland rental and conservation practice adoption (Report No. EIB-270). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Keywords: land tenure, conservation behavior and practice adoption, cropland tenancy, rental agreement, ARMS, TOTAL survey

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