UNL releases preliminary farm real estate market survey results

By Jessica Groskopf and Jim Jansen, UNL Agricultural Economists

The Preliminary Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey Results released this month by the University of Nebraska revealed that Nebraska agricultural land declined in value for the reporting year ending Feb. 1, 2019.

This marks the fifth consecutive year of downward pressure, as market values have dropped approximately 20 percent since reaching a high in 2014. The average farmland value in the Panhandle is estimated to be $685 per acre, 4 percent lower than the prior year. 

All types of farmland reported in the survey declined in value since the previous year. In the Panhandle, gravity-irrigated cropland saw the largest decline in value, dropping 8 percent to average $2,150 per acre. Hay land had the lowest decline, with a 1 percent change to $755 per acre.

Survey participants reported current trade and property tax policies as two of the most negative forces influencing agricultural real estate in Nebraska. Concerns among many land owners across Nebraska relate to current commodity prices and property ownership expenses. Many farmers and ranchers in the state look to policy changes in 2019 for better operator margins and long-term stability.

The survey also reports cash farmland rental rates. Cropland rental rates saw a 3 to 4 percent decline, while grazing rates, both pasture per acre and cow-calf pair, saw an increase over last year.

Land values and rental rates presented in this report are averages of survey participants’ responses by District. Actual land values and rental rates may vary depending upon the quality of the parcel and local market for an area.

Preliminary land values and rental rates are subject to change as additional surveys are returned. Final results from the survey will be published in June 2019 and will be available online via the Nebraska Farm Real Estate website: http://agecon.unl.edu/realestate