Economic Tidbits

Cash Rent Target on Northeast Nebraska

Northeast Nebraska is the target zone for the highest cash rental rates in the state. The region had the highest cash rental rates in 2022 according to surveys by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service across all three land categories—irrigated, dryland, and pasture. Prior to this year, Cuming County had taken the top prizes for the highest average cash rental rates on irrigated and dryland crop ground in Nebraska for three consecutive years. Not this year. Cedar County supplanted Cuming County for the highest rate on irrigated cropland of $319/acre, $22/acre more than last year’s top rate. Cuming County, though, retained its claim on the highest rental rate on dryland ground for a fourth year at $259/acre, up $9/acre over last year. Wayne County also retained its claim for the fourth consecutive year as the state’s highest for pasture of $88.50/acre, off $1.50/acre from last year.

The maps below show the average cash rental rates for irrigated cropland, dryland cropland, and pasture ground by county. Platte and Cuming Counties rounded out the top three for rents on irrigated ground at $305/acre and $304/acre, respectively. Dakota and Thurston Counties followed Cuming County for tops in dryland rents with rates of $254/acre and $246/acre, respectively. Rounding out the top three counties for pasture rents this year were Stanton County ($72/acre) and Colfax County ($71/acre).

Overall, the average rental rates for the three categories were higher this year compared to 2021. The average rent across counties with reported figures for irrigated cropland was $247/acre this year, $15 more than last year. Dryland rent averaged $140/acre, $6 per acre more. And average rent for pasture ground averaged $37/acre, $1/acre more than last year. Higher rents this year were to be expected given the remarkable income conditions last year when net farm income hit a record level. Moving forward, given the uncertainties and anxieties surrounding agriculture with input costs and prices, it’s difficult to see rental rates moving higher.

Figure 1. Average Cash Rent for Irrigated Land, 2022 ($/acre)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, August 26, 2022

Figure 2. Average Cash Rent for Dryland, 2022 ($/acre)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, August 26, 2022

Figure 3. Average Cash Rent for Pasture, 2022 ($/acre)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, August 26, 2022

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