by Alejandro Plastina, Iowa State Extension Economist
The most recent annual survey of cash rental rates for Iowa farmland shows that rates increased by 9% in 2023 to the highest average value on record: $279 per acre. This new peak rent is 3.3% higher than the previous one of $270 per acre observed in 2013 (Figure 1). In comparison, average nominal (not inflation-adjusted) corn and soybean prices received by farmers in Iowa in the first quarter of 2023 were 2.8% higher and 4.4% lower, respectively, than in the first quarter of 2013.
Alejandro PlastinaIowans supplied 1,306 usable responses about typical cash rental rates in their counties for land producing corn and soybeans, hay, oats and pasture. Of these, 42% came from farmers, 37% from landowners, 9% from professional farm managers and realtors, 7% from agricultural lenders, and 5% from other professions and respondents who chose not to report their status. Respondents indicated being familiar with a total of 1.4 million cash rented acres across the state.
AgDM File C2-10, Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2023 Survey provides detailed results by county and crop. There was considerable variability across counties in year-to-year changes, as is typical of survey data, but 91 out of the 99 Iowa counties experienced increases in average rents for corn and soybeans. Only Des Moines, Jefferson, Lucas, Muscatine, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, and Woodbury Counties experienced declines in their overall average cash rents.
Besides typical rents for ground on corn and soybeans, the report also shows typical rents for alfalfa, grass hay, oats, pasture, corn stalk grazing, and hunting rights in each district.
Survey shows rent increases in all districts
The survey was carried out by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Statewide, reported rental rates for land planted to corn and soybeans were up from $256 per acre last year to $279 in 2023, or 9%. This percent increase is 1.5 times larger than the 3.6% increase in Iowa farmland values between March 2022 and March 2023 reported in surveys conducted by the Iowa REALTORS Land Institute and summarized in AgDM File C2-75.
Furthermore, the cumulative 20% increase in rental rates since 2021 is three percentage points higher than the 17% increase experienced in land values between November 2021 and November 2022 (Figure 2), reported in the Iowa Land Value Survey, AgDM File C2-70.
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