Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Aerial photo of dairy farm in Maryland by Edwin Remsberg
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Each year USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) surveys farms to get land value information on cropland and pastureland. The annual survey also takes into account an estimated value of all land and buildings. NASS compares the survey results to the previous year’s results to determine the estimated percent change.
Nationally, the value of all U.S. farmland decreased from 2016-17 (table 1). For cropland, the value remained constant at $4,090 per acre in 2017 (table 1). Pastureland increased by 1.5 percent by $20 per acre at $1,350/per acre from 2016 to 2017 (table 1). Farm real estate value, a measurement of all land and buildings on farms, increased by 2.3 percent per acre, or by $70 in 2016-17, at $3,080 (table 1). Farm real estate values hit a 10-year high, and this represents a 47 percent increase from a low in 2009 (table 1).
Table that shows an upward trend of nation average value per acre of farmland (Source: USDA-NASS).
How did Maryland and Delaware do compared to the rest of the country? Maryland saw cropland, pastureland, and farm real estate values held steady from 2016 values (table 2). Delaware has farm real estate values held steady in 2017 at 2016 values, but cropland decreased by 1.2 percent in 2017 (table 3).
In Maryland, farm real estate average value per acre remained steady at $7,060 per acre (table 2). Delaware’s farm real estate values remained stable at $8,400 per acre (table 3).
Table that shows a trend from 2006 to 2017 of the average value per acre of Maryland farmland (Source: USDA-NASS).
Nationally over last ten years, farm real estate average values per acre have increased by almost 41 percent (table 1). Over the same period, average farm real estate values in Maryland are almost 17 percent lower than highs in 2008 (table 2). At the same time, Delaware has seen farm real estate values decrease by 18 percent from 2008 (table 3).
Looking at average cropland values, Maryland saw average value per acre remain steady at $6,530 per acre in 2017 (table 2). Delaware, on the other hand, saw a 1.2 percent decrease, or $100 per acre for the average value of cropland of $8,100 per acre (table 2). Over the last ten years, average cropland values per acre decreased in Maryland and are down 22 percent in 2017 from 2008 averages (table 2). Similar to Maryland, Delaware saw a decrease of 17 percent for average cropland values from 2008 to 2017 (table 3).
Table shows a trend from 2006 to 2017 of the average value per acre of Delaware farmland (Source: USDA-NASS).
Average pastureland values in Maryland remained steady in 2017 from 2016 at $6,100 per acre (table 2). Average pastureland values in Maryland are down 20 percent from a high in 2006 (table 2). Nationally, average pastureland values are up 23 percent from 2008 (table 1).
In Maryland and Delaware, we saw many farmland values remain stable while others decreased in 2017. Will values continue to increase nationally in 2018? Will farmland values remain steady in Maryland in 2018? Will cropland values continue to decrease in 2018 in Delaware? Farm incomes are projected to be lower again for the fourth consecutive years, which could continue to impact farmland prices. Only time will tell moving forward if farmland values will increase in 2018.