The USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service recently published the results for their nationwide cash lease survey. The results are broken down by state and are drawn from producer/landowner survey responses collected earlier this year. Importantly, while these statistics can offer a ballpark idea, keep in mind that lease rates are dependent on a number of facts like fence quality, pasture quality, livestock markets, etc. Visiting with folks on the ground like other landowners, producers, and your County Extension Agent is always a great place to get accurate information for your specific area.
Nationwide numbers are as follows (reported as $ per acre, per year):
- Irrigated cropland: $212 (Up $6.00 from 2016)
- Non-irrigated cropland: $123 (Down $2.00 from 2016)
- Pastureland: $12.50 (Down $0.50 from 2016)
For Texas, the average lease rates for 2017 are as follows (reported as $ per acre, per year):
- Irrigated cropland: $87 (Down $3 from 2016)
- Non-irrigated cropland: $28 (Up $1 from 2016)
- Pastureland: $6.60 (Down $0.20 from 2016)
Finally, keep in mind that it is critical that agricultural leases be in writing. A written lease does not need to be complicated or contentious and can be helpful to protect the rights of both the landowner and lessee. My Ranchers Agricultural Leasing Handbook offers checklists and sample lease language that might be helpful in drafting ag leases. A copy is available here.