Farms can be classified as full-owner, part-owner or full-tenant operations based on whether the farmer owns all, some or none of the land in the operation. In 2014, 60 percent of farmland acres in the U.S. were found in part-owner operations, 32 percent in full-owner operations and 8 percent in full-tenant operations. Acreage in full-tenant operations make up a much higher share—27 percent of acres operated—for younger farmers, and much less—7 percent—for farmers 65 or older. It can take time for farmers to build up the financial capacity to purchase land outright; rental agreements can help young farmers and ranchers gain access to land during this time. The majority of farmland, nearly three-fourths of U.S. acreage, is operated by farmers 55 and older, who account for 83 percent of all land in full-owner operations.
—From the USDA’s Economic Research Service