Aging population, farm succession, and farmland usage: Evidence from rural China

Baoling Zou, Ashok K. Mishra, Biliang Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The aging farming population has a significant influence on production agriculture, succession planning, successors, and farmland usage. Given recent trends in urban migration and increased opportunities for off-farm work, aging farmers increasingly face problems with farmland succession and usage in China. This study investigates the usage of farmland in the absence of a farm successor. Using multinomial logit regression model and data from rural households, we find that aging farmers without successors tend to have options for farmland usage. Specifically, the presence of a grain subsidy increases the likelihood of keeping the farmland in agriculture—albeit by hiring labor or leasing out farmland and decreases the likelihood of pooling farmland into farming cooperatives as shareholders. Off-farm work decreases the likelihood of using hired labor and leasing out farmland. Rich rural households are less likely to keep farmland idle. Large farm operators are more likely to lease out farmland. Finally, rural people with pension plans are more likely to pool their land in land cooperatives — a less-risky option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-445
Number of pages9
JournalLand Use Policy
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Aging farming population
  • China
  • Farm succession
  • Farmland
  • Farmland usage
  • Leasing out
  • Multinomial logit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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