For the second consecutive year Cuming County almost scored a “hat trick” for the highest average cash rental rates on irrigated, dryland, and pasture ground. Cuming County led the state in average cash rents on irrigated and dryland ground last year and did so again this year with rents of $291/acre and $243/acre, respectively. Both rates were off slightly compared to last year. However, Cuming County’s shot at the hat trick veered wide of the goal when its average rents on pasture failed to rank among the top three counties. Like last year, Wayne County had the state’s highest average cash rent on pasture at $86/acre, $5 higher than last year. The data comes from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Rounding out the top three counties for pasture rents this year were Colfax ($76/acre) and Stanton Counties ($75/acre). Dixon and Wayne Counties tied for second for rents on irrigated ground at $285/acre, and Cedar County was close behind at $282/acre. Dakota and Thurston Counties followed Cuming County for dryland with rents of $239/acre and $238/acre, respectively.
The statewide average rent for irrigated cropland averaged $240/acre this year, $3 higher than last year. Dryland rent averaged $149/acre, $5 higher, and rent for pasture ground averaged $24/acre, off $0.50/acre compared to last year. The slight increase in average rental rates for crop ground this year might be due to improved income conditions. Estimates suggest net farm income in Nebraska last year exceeded 2018 levels, mostly due to the trade assistance provided to producers. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic hit after most rental rates were set for the year. The decline in rent for pasture probably reflects the culling of cow herds. Cow slaughter increased last year leading to a small decline in cattle numbers heading into this year.
The maps below show the average cash rental rates for irrigated cropland, dryland cropland, and pasture ground by county. Counties colored grey are ones where data was unavailable. For more information on how rents for cropland in Nebraska compares to other states go to: https://www.fb.org/market-intel/cash-rents-remain-stable-in-2020.
Figure 1. Average Cash Rent for Pasture, 2020 ($/acre)
Figure 2. Average Cash Rent for Dryland, 2020 ($/acre)
Figure 3. Average Cash Rent for Irrigated Land, 2020 ($/acre)