Part-Ownership and Farm Enlargement in the Midwest

John Fraser Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The average size of farms in the eastern United States fluttered around 100 acres between 1900 and 1940, then soared to 235 acres by 1987. Part-ownership (the operation of rented and owned farmland from an owned base) has been the principal strategy for farm enlargement. The close geographical correspondence between the acreages owned by part-owner and full-owner farmers in the eight states of the Midwest suggests that part-owner farmers have enlarged their operations by renting land rather than by buying it. The acreage rented by part-owner farmers has no discernible relationship to the acreage they own. Part-owner farmers have bought less than the regional norm in cash-grain farming areas, in the Ozark and Appalachian hills, and on the fringes of some developing metropolitan areas. They have bought more than the regional norm in marginal agricultural areas where land is relatively cheap, in dairy-farming areas, and in cattle-raising areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991


  • farm size
  • land rental
  • midwest
  • part-owner farms
  • prior potier
  • united states


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