Anja Herkner
Institute of Rural Studies

Bundesallee 64
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5501
Fax: +49 531 596 5599

EigLanD: Farmland ownership structures in Germany


Soil in hands (c) Michael Welling
Who owns farmland in Germany? (© Michael Welling)

Assessment of farmland ownership structures in Germany

How is farmland ownership in Germany distributed? We try to answer this question by analysing a nationwide sample.

Background and Objective

Little is known about ownership’s distribution of agricultural land in Germany. Official statistics only refer to the extent of land owned by agricultural holdings. However, who is owner of the leased land, and how is the real estate property distributed? Is there a significant ownership concentration? These questions are raised when agricultural politicians think about revising the existing land transaction legislation.

Land ownership is documented in the land register. In the German land register, a unique personal identifier is missing. Therefore it’s not easy to generate valid ownership statistics. In ‘EigLanD’ we prepare and analyse ownership data of agricultural land in a sample of municipalities in order to gain knowledge on the ownership distribution.

Target Group

The Committee on Food and Agriculture at the German Bundestag has stated considerable gaps in knowledge on the issue of land ownership distribution. As nationwide ownership statistics could only be generated with very high expense, the Committee has initiated this investigation. Its results are also useful for agricultural politicians in the Federal States which are in charge of farmland politics. 


In ‘EigLanD’ we assess ownership data from the Official Land Registry Information System (ALKIS) in a sample of municipalities covering all German Federal States. We generate information on the distribution of ownership with respect to owner categories and anonymized indicators for the concentration of ownership on the levels of identical persons, households and financially related entities (companies, holdings).

Our Research Questions

  • How is farmland ownership distributed to different types of owners in selected municipalities?
  • What is the share of farmland belonging to the biggest individual owners in selected municipalities?

Preliminary Results

As an outcome of this one-year project, we expect to develop an adequate method for the anonymized assessment of ALKIS data as well as adequate forms of result presentation. Above that, we expect initial knowledge on occurring ownership distributions in the drawn sample. However, due to limited sample size, this is not representative for Germany.


Involved Thünen-Partners


2.2020 - 1.2021

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing

Publications to the project

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