Farmland Value

Errata: On June 7, 2024, two text references on the farmland value topic page were changed to correct a calculation error. The page now indicates that the Southern Plains region leads all regions in terms of 5-year value of farm real estate growth, at 2.9 percent annual growth over 2017–2022, while the Delta States and Southeast regions (growth rate: -0.6 percent) trail all other annual growth over the same period (all values adjusted for inflation). 

Farm real estate (land and structures) accounted for 3.18 trillion dollars (82.8 percent) of the total value of U.S. farm assets in 2022. (See more on farm assets and debt, including real estate.) Following a period of stabilization in farmland values from 2014 to 2020, farmland values began to appreciate in 2021, a trend which has continued into 2023. The USDA, Economic Research Service studies trends in farmland values, assessing the impact of both macroeconomic factors (such as interest rates and the prices of alternative investments) and parcel specific attributes (such as soil quality, government payments, rural amenity value and urban proximity). The value of U.S. farmland averaged $4,080 per acre, an increase of 7.4 percent over 2022 values, or 3.9 percent when adjusted for inflation. Over the previous five-year period (from 2017 to 2022), the compound annualized growth rate (CAGR) was 4.6 percent, or 1.2 percent after adjusting for 3.3 percent inflation (using the Oxford GDP deflator, obtainable from the November, 2023 edition of the Farm Income and Wealth Statistics). 

Regional farmland real estate values vary widely because of differences in general economic conditions, local farm economic conditions, and local geographic conditions that affect returns to farming. For example, in the Corn Belt, farm real estate values are nearly twice the national average, while farmland real estate values in the Mountain region are less than half the national average.

In addition to differences in the value of land, farm real estate growth varies as well. While farm real estate values increased in all economic regions between 2022 and 2023, after adjusting for inflation, real growth ranged from a 1.5-percent decline in the Delta States to a 10.0-percent increase in the Northern Plains. Over the previous five-year period (from 2017 to 2022), the average annual real growth rate was highest in the Southern Plains at 2.9 percent and fell the most in the Delta States and Southeast, both at -0.6 percent.

Farm real estate values also vary according to agricultural use. Cropland maintains a premium over pastureland due to higher per-acre returns to crop production. Between 2022 and 2023, inflation-adjusted U.S. average cropland values rose by 4.6 percent to $5,460 per acre compared to 1.2 percent per year over the previous five years (2017 to 2022), while average pastureland values rose by 3.2 percent to $1,760 per acre compared to 1.0 percent per year over the previous five years (all values adjusted for inflation). The difference between cropland and pastureland values varies by region. Cropland values are higher than pastureland values in every region. In the Pacific region, average cropland value per acre ($8,800) was over four times higher than average pastureland value per acre ($2,120) in 2023.

Another measure of value is the annual rental cost of using land for agricultural production. Between 2022 and 2023, average inflation-adjusted U.S. cropland rental rates increased by 1.3 percent to $155, while pastureland rental rates increased by 3.7 percent to $15 per acre.

Average farmland value and cash rent by USDA, NASS economic region, 2023 (dollars per acre)
Economic Region Farm real estate value Cropland value Cropland rent Pasture value Pasture rent
Corn Belt 8,100 8,540 236 2,860 42.5
Pacific 7,270 8,800 274 2,120 12
Northeast 6,740 7,380 98.5 4,460 36.5
Lake States 6,450 6,620 180 2,680 32.5
Appalachian 4,980 5,190 114 4,180 24.5
Southeast 4,840 5,060 104 5,050 21
Delta States 3,400 3,260 128 2,940 21.5
Northern Plains 3,160 4,200 117 1,510 25
Southern Plains 2,800 2,480 41 2,150 9.7
Mountain 1,450 2,410 104 808 6.3
U.S. total (48 States) 4,080 5,460 155 1,760 15
Source: Land Values, 2023 Summary, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, August 2023. Annual data by region and State are available from QuickStats.

Links to key farmland value data sources: