There are two major surveys of land values and cash rental rates that I use each year when fielding questions from clientele about the subject. One is done by UNL Ag Economics Department and the other by the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) of USDA.
The UNL Survey is send out in January and the 2017 survey data has been released as of a couple of days ago. To see the preliminary numbers, go to: http://agecon.unl.edu/realestate or http://agecon.unl.edu/cornhuskereconomics . At either web page you will find the 2016-2017 survey report. Two things to know. One is that the survey gives a nice trend picture, but does not exactly tell us how much land is worth, or how much to charge for rent. The other is that this survey is filled out by professionals in Agriculture, for example Farm Managers and Ag Loan Officers in each crop reporting district.
For 2017, land values are down 10% on a state-wide basis. In the eastern district, which includes Platte County, land values dropped between 4 and 18 %, depending on the value of the ground.
Cash rents are also continuing to trend lower. Farmland cash rent is down 5-9% from last year’s survey. That compares to the 2-5% in last year’s survey. So the rate of the drop this year has increased.
In the latest UNL survey, Center pivot irrigated land cash rents for the Eastern District range from a low of $250 to a high of $335 with an average of $290. Cash rents for dryland crop land in this survey ranged from a low of $155 to $225 per acre with an average of $190 rent paid per acre. In this district, pasture rent has actually decreased by 14% with the range from $38 to $73 per acre and the average being $53 per acre.
As always, you can download the survey yourself at: http://agecon.unl.edu/realestate or contact our office and we can provide you a survey either by picking it up in person, e-mail the printable document format file to you, or we can mail to you. Realize that this is preliminary results and that the full report will be complete in late June.
The other survey that is completed is the NASS survey which is sent out in July and August. The survey results are usually released by mid-September of each year. This survey is one filled out by farmers themselves. It is a survey of cash rents, not land values. Interestingly, the NASS data, while correlating with the UNL survey fairly closely, will tend to be lower than the UNL survey data. But, it still does a good job of discovering the trends in land cash rental rates.