High Risk, Constrained Return: Impact of Student Loans on Agricultural Real Estate


A farming household’s decision to continue producing agricultural commodities within the United States is influenced by a multitude of factors. Thus, this study seeks to examine whether the outstanding student loan balance of any member within a farming household may explain why the total number of acres devoted to the production of agriculture in the United States continues to decline. Panel data from the 2007–2009 Survey of Consumer Finances are analyzed via a fixed effect model to estimate the effect of outstanding student loan balances on farmland acreage owned, controlling for other factors like farm income, debt, and land prices. The results suggest that for each additional dollar of outstanding student loan debt, there is an associated decrease of 0.0064 acres in total farmland ownership. This suggests that student loan debt may also be a factor in the decline in real estate devoted to agriculture production. The estimated effect is both economically and statistically significant. This study contributes to the literature on the risks and constraints associated with farming households that own or seek to procure additional acres of agricultural producing real estate.


© 2024 by the authors. cc-by


agricultural economics, agricultural real estate, debt, farmland, student loans


Diosdado, L., Lacombe, D., & Hudson, D.. 2024. High Risk, Constrained Return: Impact of Student Loans on Agricultural Real Estate. Journal of Risk and Financial Management, 17(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/jrfm17050176