The cash rental rates survey published by UNL Extension is one of the most popular agricultural publications sought. Last week these were released so I’ve decided to share some of the highlights in this column. Authors Jim Jansen, Research Analyst and Roger Wilson, Budget Analyst Farm Management both from UNL’s Ag Economics Department reported that “even with the strong increases in farmland values over the past several years and the reduction in commodity prices experienced during 2013, agricultural land markets in Nebraska remained steady early in 2014.”
The survey shows that 2014 cash rental rates for cropland on average declined with lower commodity prices, while pasture and cow-calf pair rental rates significantly increased, due to higher beef cattle prices, the lingering effects of the drought and the conversion of some marginal land to crop production. Lower anticipated grain prices in 2014 have led to lower average cash rental rates for dryland, gravity irrigated and center pivot irrigated cropland, as profit margins begin to tighten. This survey data is obtained from land appraisers, farm managers or agricultural finance professionals in Nebraska. Our area is located in the southeast district for the survey and shows that the average value of Nebraska Farmland is $6,105/acre, a 6% increase. Dryland cropland is valued at $5,355/acre in the southeast district, while $8,280/acre was reported for gravity irrigated cropland and $9,745/acre in center pivot irrigated cropland.
Average cash rental rates for the southeast district in center pivot irrigated cropland is $331/acre, a 4% decrease from last year. Average dryland cash rental rates were estimated at $175/acre and gravity irrigated cropland at $290/acre, a 3% decrease. Pasture cash rental rates were estimated at $50/acre in the southeast district. For a copy of this survey, go to the UNL Agricultural Economics webpage at or stop by your local extension office to pick one up.
As always, this survey is not meant to be a “one-size fits all” rate. These are merely guidelines and a starting place. The landlord and tenant must communicate with each other so appropriate factors are taken into consideration and a fair rate is established.