USDA county cash rent data for cropland and pasture ground showed mixed changes between 2017 and 2019. Rents for irrigated and dryland crop ground were lower, but rents on pasture ground were higher.
The top cash rent on irrigated ground in 2019 was six percent less than the top rate in 2017. And, the top cash rent on dryland ground in 2019 was $22/acre less compared to 2017. The declines are to be expected given farmers’ struggles to generate positive returns. The lack of returns has taken the top off both markets as farmers are looking for ways to cut costs. Somewhat surprising, though, is the top rate on pasture in 2019 was higher compared to 2017 by $8/acre. Moreover, 46 counties saw either no change or increases in rents for pasture ground. This could be the result of growing cattle numbers between 2010 and 2017 and greater competition for pasture.