Cash rents fell nationwide along with farmland values in 2016, according to USDA.
On average, cash rents declined nearly 6% to $136 per acre, while cropland value fell $40 to $4,090 per acre and agricultural land fell $10 to $3,010 per acre.
For farmers in Illinois, who saw average income declines of $72 an acre, with cash rents of $290 per acre representing their largest expenditure, negotiating lower cash rents for 2017 should be considered, according to Prof. Gary Schnitkey, ag economist with University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, commenting in a recent edition of FarmDoc Daily.
Why? Because the decline in cash rents isn't enough to offset the drop in commodity prices.
Cash rent for irrigated land fell slightly, dropping just $3, from $209 to $206 per acre. Cash rent for non-irrigated land declined 8% to $125 per acre, while pastureland dropped $1 to $13 per acre, USDA said.
Higher commodity prices, boosted by increased corn use in making ethanol, propped up cash rents between 2006 and 2014, Schnitkey notes.