Project ID



The popularity of trusts as a land management tactic has been increasing. Using survey results, an attorney and economics professor examined the kinds of trust arrangements that exist in Iowa and how they might be used to encourage conservation practices and sustainable agricultural management.

Key Question

What is the impact of trust ownership on the sustainability and resilience of Iowa’s agricultural landscape? Given the increasing use of trusts to own farmland, how can trust arrangements be used to promote sustainability and resilience?


Trust ownership continues to increase, though the majority of trusts are revocable trusts that exist with the owner creating the trust as the trustee, thus not providing a significant change in decision-making authority. However, irrevocable trusts, while constituting a minority of those in place, also are expected to increase with greater likelihood of dispersed management and fractionated ownership. In order to address conservation concerns raised by this fractionation, the project investigators researched trust provisions as well as legal rights and remedies of the various parties to a trust.

Principal Investigator(s)

Edward Cox


Michael Duffy

Year of Grant Completion