• Paul Goeringer

USDA Releases 2019 Cash Rent Averages for Maryland and Delaware

Updated: Jul 10


By Paul Goeringer and Nerice Millet-Williams

Corn growing in the field with farmhouse and other buildings. Image by Beau Considine.

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USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) updated data on cash rent paid by farmers in 2019. 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 can also 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 is a good cash rent price. I honestly have no idea what a fair cash rent price is for you, or the other party, based on the farmland. The averages will give you a good starting point, but you should always consider determining what a good price is for you. Resources exist at http://www.aglease101.org to help you calculate a cash rent, a crop-share rent, or a flex-cash rent. Utilizing these resources first can help you determine rent prices that will work for you.

Nationally, cash rent averages in 2019 were mixed (table 1). Non-irrigated cropland cash rent went from $125/acre in 2018 to $127/acre in 2019 or a 1.6 percent increase. Irrigated cropland saw a 2.33 percent increase, going from $215/acre on average in 2018 to $220/acre on average in 2019 (table 1). Pasture rent increased from an average of $12.50/acre in 2018 to $13/acre in 2019 or a 4 percent increase (table 1).


Image of Table 1 showing national rental rate averages from 2011 to 2019. Image by Paul Goeringer and Nerice Millet-Williams with data from USDA-NASS.

How did we do in Maryland and how did Delaware do compared with the national increases? The answer depends on where you lease farmland. Delaware saw cropland cash rents increase by 6.25 percent (table 2). Cropland cash rents in Delaware increased by $7/acre in 2019 going from $112 in 2018 to $119 in 2019 (table 2). The average irrigated cropland in Delaware increased by 11.03 percent in 2019 from $145/acre average in 2017 to $161/acre average in 2019 (table 2).


Image of Table 2 showing Delaware rental rate averages from 2011 to 2019. Image by Paul Goeringer and Nerice Millet-Williams with data from USDA-NASS.

Maryland saw a 5.66 percent decrease of average non-irrigated cropland cash rent or down $106/acre in 2018 to $100/acre in 2019 (table 3). Average irrigated cropland increased by 3.16 percent in 2019, up from $190/acre average in 2017 to $196/acre average in 2019 (table 3). Average pasture land cash rents were up 10 percent in Maryland in 2019, from $40/acre in 2017 to $44/acre in 2019 (table 3).



Image of Table 3 showing Maryland rental rate averages from 2011 to 2019. Image by Paul Goeringer and Nerice Millet-Williams with data from USDA-NASS.

Look for a later post on county rental rate data once that is released later this year by NASS. For more information on farmland leasing, see the “Lease Agreements” section of UME’s Grain Marketing website.

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