Meet the #1 Largest Landowner in All of Iowa

Iowa is a state that is ideal for agriculture. Most of the way if you drive through the area, you’ll probably encounter farmland. Actually, a substantial portion of the state’s land is occupied by huge farms. If you imagined that the biggest landowner in all of Iowa was some kind of farm, that would make sense.

You might be shocked to hear that, despite its popularity, farming does not hold the majority of the state’s territory. You’ll have to read on to find out who in Iowa has the most land ownership.

Who Is the Largest Landowner in Iowa?

A lot of people think that the Holding Family, in particular, is the biggest landowner in Iowa. The oil and gas industry is owned by this family.

To be fair, they do own over 400,000 acres of land in Iowa. Still, one group holds a larger percentage of the land. The Department of Natural Resources in Iowa is this.

How Much Land Do They Own?

Iowa’s largest landowner is the Natural Resources Department. It has 25,000 more acres than the next largest landowner.

So what is their land holding size? an incredible 425,000 acres. This represents roughly 1.2% of Iowa’s total land area.

Since the 1930s, the department has gradually acquired territory; the largest acquisition occurred in the 1990s. Nearly 70,000 acres were bought by the agency in the 1990s alone.

What They Do With the Land

The land owned by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is put to various uses. About 29,000 acres, or a significant chunk of the property, are leased to farms. Although the farmers who lease the land must use more environmentally friendly farming methods, they have access to abundant natural resources and good soil.

State parks occupy around 68,000 acres of the remaining area. These areas are preserved in order to maintain public access while safeguarding significant habitats and the wildlife that resides there.

Wildlife management areas occupy the majority of the remaining land. Though not as strictly, certain locations are nonetheless protected. They are also intended for human recreational use, including activities like birdwatching, hiking, fishing, and trapping.

Do They Own Any Land Outside of Iowa?

They only technically possess land in Iowa because the Department of Natural Resources is particularly located in Iowa. They are a branch of the government, though.

About 650 million acres are owned by the federal government alone in the United States. This makes up about thirty percent of the US total area. A large portion of this is used for mining and resource extraction. Nonetheless, a portion of it is also devoted to safeguarding animals and significant habitats.