According to the 2018 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey, 53% of Iowa farmland is leased—in other words, more than half of Iowa’s farmland is not farmed by the people who own it. Non-operating landowners have tremendous potential to steward Iowa’s natural resources. With many non-operating landowner members, and with many members who rent land from non-operators, Practical Farmers is dedicated to providing resources and information to landowners to help them be better stewards of their lands and to ensure that agriculture in Iowa is resilient, sustainable and profitable for landowner and tenant alike. 


This quarterly email newsletter curates content and the latest from PFI specifically for non-operating landowners.

Landowner Coaching Program

The Landowner Coaching Program connects non-operating landowners with a professional farm manager.

The consultation and landowner report is free to landowner participants through Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Learn More

Land Connection Meet-Ups

For years tenant farmers and landowners have relied on a conversation and a handshake to determine rental rates each year.

Fluctuating market prices, fertilizer shortages and a dependence on world events means the price of corn and soybeans may fluctuate wildly year-to-year. Many farmers and landowners are turning to creative leasing solutions that can benefit the farmer and the landowner.

Learn more about flex leasing and some specific ways you can determine your rate. We’ll hear from farm managers, landowners, and tenants on the pros and cons of this type of lease.

Learn more

PFI Landowner Resources

  • 2019 Annual Conference: Landowner’s Prioritizing Conservation on Rented Ground; hear from PFI members Maggie McQuown (Steve Turman) and Ruth Rabinowitz on how they set farmland priorities and ensure that those priorities were reflected in their farm leases. Learn more about the progress they have made, lessons learned, and their future plans to further their goals. 
  • Conservation Through Collaboration. PFI member Lee Tesdell was the recipient of Practical Farmers’ 2019 Farmland Owner Legacy Award. Lee works closely with his farm tenants to protect soil, and wildlife on the Tesdell Century Farm that has been in his family since 1884. As a non-farming landowner, Lee is outspoken about the need for farmland owners to collaborate with their farming tenants on conservation. 
  • Who own’s the farmland? PFI Executive Director Sally Worley published this blog in 2018 that discusses farmland ownership trends, as well as the resulting challenges facing both landowners and operators alike.

The Latest on Farmland Ownership

Cover crops for landowners

Did you know that landowners can sign-up for our cover crop cost share program? Learn more about cover crops and cost share opportunities on PFI’s cover crop webpage.

Livestock on rented ground

Contract grazing cover crops can be a win-win-win for landowners, row-croppers and livestock producers. PFI has a fact-sheet on contract grazing cover crops that discusses the benefits, challenges and key points of contract grazing cover crops. This article from 2019 discusses how to reintegrate rotational grazing onto the landscape to benefit beginning farmers. 

Contract grazing cover crops (pdf)

livestock as a tool for land management (pdf)

Transitioning to organic

Many landowners are interested in organic farming not only because of the environmental benefits, but also because of market opportunities for organic products. This field day recap from 2017 discusses transitioning to organic, including real-world challenges and lessons-learned. 

On-farm conservation

Practical Farmers has curated a variety of information and resources related to on-farm conservation. Hear from PFI members about how they’re making space for wildness on the farm. 

Farm and land transfer and succession

Practical Farmers has a host of resources related to farm and land transfer and succession, including land protection options like conservation easements. 

External Resources: 


Contact Martha McFarland at martha.mcfarland(at)practicalfarmers(dot)org or call our office at (515) 232-5661