Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2002


Published in Great Plains Research 12:2 (Fall 2002): 339-51. Copyright © 2002 Center for Great Plains Studies.


In a country where more than 40% of the agricultural land is farmed by tenant operators, the question of how that land base is farmed becomes paramount In this study we examined soil erosion levels in relation to land tenure and surveyed tenant farmer practices and attitudes in Nebraska and South Dakota, We found leased land was farmed and maintained by tenants in an environmentally sustainable manner, Furthermore, we found no evidence to suggest variation from this norm due to type of lease, size of farm, type of farm organization, or landowner classification, While educational level and years of experience (age) contributed to soil stewardship practices, to a great extent tenant farmers in these Great Plains states farmed leased land in a conscientious manner to maintain their integrity and reputation in the community as being a "good farmer," Landowners, as well as society at large, benefit from this perspective,