The average value for U.S. pastureland rose 1.5% this year to $1,350 per acre, according to USDA’s 2017 Land Values Summary. The new value reflects an increase of $20 per acre from 2016 and a record high since USDA began keeping records.
By comparison, the average acre of cropland is worth $4,090, a level unchanged from 2016 and the third highest on record.
Regionally, pastureland values and rent range widely. The Southeast now has the highest pastureland values in the country at an average of $3,910 per acre, USDA reports. That dollar amount contributes to the smallest regional cropland/pastureland value differential in the country—less than 1%.
Other regions rounding out the top five for pastureland values include the Northeast, $3,420; Appalachia, $3,340; Delta, $2,480; and the Corn Belt, $2,380.
The Delta saw the highest average increase in pastureland values this year with a 2.9% gain compared with 2016. The largest boost in value was in Louisiana, which saw a jump of 3.8% to $2,700 per acre, followed by Arkansas at a 2.9% increase to $2,520 per acre.
The largest decrease for any region, at 1.7%, was in the Corn Belt. Prices tumbled in Iowa by 8.8% to an average of $3,100 per acre this year. Illinois average values dropped 2.9% to $3,300 per acre, and Ohio dropped 1.6% to $3,050.
In Missouri, USDA reports pastureland prices rose 2.1% to an average $1,970 per acre. The 2017 Missouri Farm Land Values Opinion Survey shows even stronger values. The survey of 131 Missouri lenders, rural appraisers and farmers found “good” pastureland in the state has an average value of $2,916 per acre, an increase of $232 or 8.6% from 2016.
Elsewhere, pastureland values rose in the single digits on a year-over-year basis in a number of states including: 3.9% in South Dakota ($1,060); 3.1% in Texas ($1,650); and 3% ($1,700) in Minnesota.