“Pasture lease rates” is one of the searches we see most often at On Pasture. We’ve published a lot of articles on how to determine rental rates and how to write up a lease agreement, etc. (just click to see them) but I’m guessing that many of you would still like to see a number to give you a starting point. Thanks to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, I’ve got that for you.
This information comes from a county level “Cash Rents Survey” conducted every other year in all states, except Alaska. The figures are per year (not per month). It only covers cash rents. Land rented for a share of the crop, on a fee per head, per pound of gain, by animal unit month (AUM), rented free of charge, or land that includes buildings such as barns are excluded from the survey. That means you’ll still have to do some of your own figuring on how much to charge or pay. But at least you have some kind of starting point with this.
This is a PDF file. When you download it, type the county you’re interested in and Adobe Acrobat will help you jump to it right away. I highlighted the pastureland column in yellow to help you find it more easily as you move through the document. I included the irrigated and non-irrigated cropland in case some of you are interested in that as well.
I hope this helps!
Do these prices seem low to you? They did to On Pasture author Doug McCarty who wrote to me noting that he was aware of people in his area of Lane County, Oregon who were willing to pay more, or had actually paid more, than the $19.50 per acre per year provided in this table.
I checked in with Tony Dorn at the National Agricultural Statistics Service and looked at how the survey was done to create this data. It relies on the responses of landowners, so what you see is what respondents would have rented land for. However Tony noted that some rents may be higher and others lower. (Note that the NASS must follow strict confidentiality laws so they cannot release any information on their respondents.) He did provide additional information about average land values by state. That chart is below. (Click on the map to see a larger version of it.)
You can probably get more precise values for your area by contacting a real estate agent or looking online to see what property typically sells for. That information might also be helpful in factoring in what a reasonable rental rate for pastureland is. Also, don’t forget that infrastructure and forage are factors in how valuable a piece of property is as pasture.
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