Average cropland and pastureland cash rental rates can be helpful to both agricultural producers and landowners in planning leasing arrangements or making production decisions.
Knowledge of farmland cash rental rates can be useful for updating leasing arrangements and for budgeting costs of production. Farmland cash rental rates were released by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service on August 27, 2021. Rates are given for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pastureland for each county.
Here are some key highlights:
- Cash rental rates changed slightly in Alabama from 2020.
- Cropland averaged $66.5, down $1.50 from 2020.
- Pastureland averaged $24, up $1 from 2020.
- The statewide rate for irrigated cropland was $120 per acre, compared to $64 for non-irrigated cropland.
- The changes in cropland cash rental rates were a mixed bag for the neighboring states with rates increasing in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee but decreasing in Florida.
- Cash rent varies greatly by county within Alabama, with highest rates for the following:
- Irrigated cropland in the Wiregrass region
- Non-irrigated cropland in the Northern Valley and Coastal Plains and Gulf Coast regions
- Pastureland in the Wiregrass region
Statewide Farmland Cash Rent
Statewide cash rental values have gradually increased in Alabama over the past decade, similar to its neighboring states (figure 1). Cropland averaged $66.5 per acre in Alabama, down 2 percent from 2020.
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Irrigated cropland had a rental rate of $120 per acre, a decrease of $15 from 2020, while non-irrigated cropland received a rate of $64 per acre, which follows six years of rates at $22 or $23.
Pastureland had a rental rate of $24 per acre, increasing $1 from 2020. Over the past decade, both cropland and pastureland rental values have had modest increases in all states across the region.
Cropland rates in Alabama lag behind the other states, with Georgia leading the way at $135 per acre. For pastureland, Alabama is only behind Georgia, which leads the region with a rate of $30 per acre.
Cash Rent by County
Rental rates vary greatly within the state. Figure 2 shows cash rent values by county (or group of counties) and type of farmland. The highest-value non-irrigated cropland continues to be in Lawrence, Limestone, Colbert, and Escambia Counties, which all had rental rates at $100 or above.
The lowest rate for non- irrigated cropland was Coosa County ($15.50 per acre). Pastureland received the highest rate in Baldwin County ($41.50 per acre), with the lowest rate in Jefferson County ($8.80 per acre).
Table 1 (see original article at the URL below) shows by county how cash rental values have changed from 2020. Compared to 2020, cash rent for irrigated cropland increased in 13 of the state’s 67 counties, while cash rent for non-irrigated cropland increased in 27 counties. Results were mixed for pastureland with 31 counties seeing declines in cash rent from 2020.
Some of these differences across years are due to changes in methodology regarding the level at which cash rent was measured. For instance, in 2020, the rate for non-irrigated cropland in Lowndes County was measured as a multicounty average with the rest of the Black Belt region, whereas in 2021 it was measured independently.
Thus, the 181 percent increase in value for some of those counties likely reflects the inclusion of higher-value counties in the average. While the county- level values may give a rough estimate of the cash rent, they are often combined with other counties’ values (denoted with an asterisk in table 1), so please keep that in mind when using this information.
Average cropland and pastureland cash rental rates can be helpful to both agricultural producers and landowners when planning leasing arrangements or making production decisions.
However when using this information, please keep in mind that attributes of plots of land differ within a county, and the values presented in this document are simply averages. Careful thought should be used when making any decisions regarding the rental value of land.