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USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) updated data on cash rent paid by farmers in 2020. NASS collects this data from 240,000 farms across the United States annually through the Cash Rent Survey - data used by other agencies throughout USDA. The survey results give us an idea of what other tenants in the area may be paying per acre for farmland.
One important note: many of you often ask me just what constitutes a reasonable cash rent price. I honestly have no idea what a fair cash rent price is for you, or the other party, based on a certain piece of farmland. The averages will give you a good starting point, but you should always carefully consider determining a good price. Resources exist at http://www.aglease101.org to help you calculate cash rent, crop-share rent, or flex-cash rent. Utilizing these resources first can help you determine rent prices that will work for you.
Nationally, cash rent averages in 2020 were down (table 1). Non-irrigated cropland cash rent went down from $127/acre in 2019 to $126/acre in 2020, or a 0.71 percent decrease. Irrigated cropland saw a 1.82 percent decrease, going from $220/acre on average in 2019 to $216/acre in 2020 (table 1). Pasture rent stayed steady at $13/acre in 2020 from 2019 (table 1).
How did we do in Maryland, and how did Delaware do compared with national averages? The answer depends on where you lease farmland. Delaware saw cropland cash rents decrease by 5.88 percent (table 2). Cropland cash rents in Delaware declined by $7/acre in 2020, going from $119 in 2019 to $112 in 2020 (table 2). The average irrigated cropland in Delaware decreased by 6.21 percent in 2020, from $161/acre average in 2019 to $151/acre average in 2020 (table 2). The average for non-irrigated cropland in Delaware decreased by 3.09 percent, going from $97/acre in 2019 to $94/acre in 2020. Delaware also reported an average pasture rental rate of $55/acre in 2020.
Maryland saw a 2-percent decrease in average non-irrigated cropland cash rent, or down $100/acre in 2019 to $98/acre in 2019 (table 3). Average irrigated cropland decreased by 1.02 percent in 2020, down from $196/acre average in 2019 to $194/acre average in 2020 (table 3). Average pastureland cash rents were up 9.09 percent in Maryland in 2020, going from $44/acre in 2019 to $48/acre in 2020 (table 3).
NASS will release county cash rental rates later in August for 2020. For last year’s average cash rents, see (https://extension.umd.edu/grainmarketing/lease-agreements). For more information on farmland leasing, see the “Lease Agreements” section of UME’sGrain Marketing website.