Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


Foreclosures of farm mortgages, if tabulated for a period of years, provide a reasonably accurate financial record of agricultural distress. By their geographical concentration, moreover, they suggest among other things areas where land has been over-valued. With information on these points as the major objective, a study of foreclosures was undertaken in the southern third of the state, an area including 81 counties (see fig. 1). From the court house records of the 81 counties, information was obtained for the years 1915-86 on all farm mortgage foreclosures-a total of 12,86l. The analysis and discussion contained in this report are based on what these 12,861 foreclosure sales reveal.

This report is made up of three parts; first, a division of the 22-year history into four periods; second, a classification of foreclosures according to lenders or mortgage holders and third, a discussion of reasons for the variations in foreclosures among the 81 counties. Although the more important foreclosure statistics appear in tables along with the text, complete tabulations, including number, acreage and judgment data by counties, are presented in the appendix.



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