ByDana Cronin, Illinois Public Media and Harvest Public Media |
TOLONO — Lin Warfel puts farmland owners in central Illinois into two categories: Those with a deep connection and desire to preserve their land, and those obsessed with short-term money. The 80-year-old still owns the land that’s been in his family since his great-grandfather arrived in Champaign County in the 1800’s. After farming it for decades, he now rents the corn and soybean operation to his neighbors down the road.
ByMarissa Plescia, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and Dylan Tiger, CU-CitizenAccess |
In recent years, Urbana billionaire Shahid Khan has added to investments by quietly purchasing farmland through a company he owns called Baloo Enterprises LLC. A spokesperson for Khan confirmed earlier this month that Khan has purchased roughly 24,000 acres of farmland in central Illinois.
ByErin McKinstry/For The Midwest Center of Investigative Reporting |
They’re not making any more farmland. According to the USDA, the number of acres rented out has remained steady over the last 50 years, at around 40 percent.
The difference is the landowner is increasingly not the farmer next door or a landlord intimately involved in the farming operation.
Instead, many farmers rent from multiple owners who may have little to no connection to farming or the local community and who may own land strictly for investment purposes.