Renters, Landlords, and Farmland Stewardship


Are farmers better stewards of the land they own than the land they rent from others? We answer this question using a data set that identifies Ontario farmers’ conservation practices on their own land as well as the land they rent. Using a fixed‐effects regression approach, we find that the role of tenure varies for different types of conservation practices. Farmers were found to be just as likely to adopt a machinery‐related practice such as conservation tillage on their rented land as that land which they own. On the other hand, farmers were found to be less likely to adopt site‐specific conservation practices such as planting cover crops on rented land. However, this effect diminishes as the expected length of the rental relationship increases when the landlord has a farming background.

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B. James Deaton, Chad Lawley, Karthik Nadella