NASS Releases Delaware and Maryland Statewide Cash Rental Rate Averages for 2021


Image of grain harvest by Edwin Remsberg
Image of grain harvest by Edwin Remsberg

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USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) updated data on cash rent paid by farmers in 2021. NASS collects this data annually from 240,000 farms across the United States through the Cash Rent Survey - data used by other agencies throughout USDA. The survey results give us an idea of what other tenants in an area may be paying per acre for renting farmland.


One important note: many of you often ask me just what constitutes a reasonable cash rent price. I honestly have no idea what an affordable cash rent price is for you or the other party based on a specific piece of farmland. The averages will give you a good starting point, but you should always consider a reasonable price carefully. Resources at http://www.aglease101.org will 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 2021 were up (figure 1). Non-irrigated cropland cash rent went up from $126/acre in 2020 to $128/acre in 2021, a 1.56 percent increase. Irrigated cropland saw a 0.46 percent increase, going from $216/acre on average in 2020 to $217/acre in 2021 (figure 1). Pasture rent stayed steady at $13/acre in 2021.

Image of figure 1 displaying average national rental rates per acre from 2012 to 2021
Image of Figure 1, Source USDA-NASS

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 increased by 1.75 percent on average or $2/acre in 2021, going from $112 in 2020 to $114 in 2021 (figure 2). The average irrigated cropland in Delaware increased by 6.21 percent in 2021, from $151/acre average in 2020 to $166/acre average in 2021. The average for non-irrigated cropland in Delaware decreased by 6.82 percent, going from $94/acre in 2020 to $88/acre in 2021.

Image of figure 2 showing average rental rates per acre in DE from 2012 to 2021
Image of figure 2, source USDA-NASS

Maryland saw a 4.85percent increase in average non-irrigated cropland cash rent, going from $98/acre in 2020 to $103/acre in 2021 (figure 3). Average irrigated cropland increased by 1.52 percent in 2021, going from a $194/acre average in 2020 to $197/acre average in 2021. Average pastureland cash rents were up 9.43 percent in Maryland in 2021, going from $48/acre in 2020 to $53/acre in 2021.


Image of figure 1 displaying average Maryland rental rates per acre from 2012 to 2021
Image of Figure 3, Source USDA NASS

NASS will release county cash rental rates later in August for 2021. For last year’s average cash rents. See also the “Lease Agreements” section of UME’s Grain Marketing website for more information on farmland leasing.