Economic Tidbits

Cuming & Wayne Counties Again Take Top Rent Prizes

Cuming County takes the top prizes for the highest average cash rental rates on irrigated and dryland crop ground in Nebraska for the third consecutive year. Cuming County’s average cash rents on irrigated and dryland ground were $297/acre and $250/acre, respectively. The dryland rate was up $7/acre and the irrigated rate up $5/acre compared to last year.

Wayne County, another 3-year repeat champion, once again had the state’s highest average cash rent on pasture at $90/acre, $4 higher than last year. The maps below show the average cash rental rates for irrigated cropland, dryland cropland, and pasture ground by county. A darker color indicates higher rental rates and counties colored grey are ones where data was unavailable. The data comes from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Rounding out the top three counties for pasture rents this year were Colfax County ($74/acre) and Stanton Counties ($73/acre). Cedar and Cass Counties followed for rents on irrigated ground at $293/acre and $287/acre, respectively. And Thurston and Dakota followed Cuming County for dryland with rents of $245/acre and $244/acre, respectively.

Rental rates across the state for irrigated and dryland ground appeared to be relatively stable compared to last year or maybe off some. The statewide average rent for irrigated cropland averaged $232/acre this year, $8 less than last year. Dryland rent averaged $134/acre, $15 less. The decrease is somewhat surprising given the runup in crop prices. Perhaps the surge of COVID-19 infections in the fall and winter months, typically when rental rates are negotiated, created enough uncertainty to keep rental rates somewhat flat. It could also be indicative of the “stickiness” of rental rates in general. On the other hand, average rent for pasture ground averaged $36/acre, $12/acre more than last year.

As noted above, estimates suggest net farm income will be higher this year due to higher crop and livestock receipts. As such, one would expect some upward pressure on rental rates this fall and winter.

Figure 2. Average Cash Rent for Pasture, 2020 ($/acre)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statstics Service

Figure 3. Average Cash Rent for Dryland, 2020 ($/acre)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statstics Service

Figure 4. Average Cast REnt for Irrigated Land, 2020 ($/acre)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statstics Service

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