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Published April 04, 2011, 06:09 AM

ND farmland rental rates rise

A new report provides further evidence of something most people involved in North Dakota agriculture already realize: Farmland rental rates are rising, though usually not as fast as the value of the farmland itself.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

A new report provides further evidence of something most people involved in North Dakota agriculture already realize:

Farmland rental rates are rising, though usually not as fast as the value of the farmland itself.

The North Dakota field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has released its 2011 County Rents & Values.

The annual report, based on data received earlier this year from 2,300 ag producers in the state, provides average rental rates and the average value of rented land in each county in the state.

The widely watched report is used by some farmers and landowners to help determine rental agreements. Interest in the report was particularly strong this year.

“We took quite a few calls” from people wanting to know when the report would be available, says Patrick Boyle, deputy director of the North Dakota office.

In most counties, average rental rates and the average value of rented land are significantly higher in 2011 than the 2006 to ’10 five-year averages.

The North Dakota NASS office doesn’t interpret the data, but it’s reasonable to conclude there’s a “correlation” between the higher rates and values and good yields and strong crop prices last fall, Boyle says.

Two examples of the higher rates and values:

- In Cass County, in the heart of the Red River Valley, the 2011 average rental rate of nonirrigated cropland was $90.40 and the average value of rented land was $2,483. Those figures were up from $81.80 and $2,092, respectively, in 2010 and the 2006-10 averages of $70.50 and $1,677, respectively.

- In Adams County, in southwestern North Dakota, the 2011 average rental rate of nonirrigated cropland was $32.70 and the average value of rented land was $627. Those figures were up from $29.70 and $556, respectively, in 2010 and the 2006-10 averages of $27.60 and $494, respectively.

Ag bankers and others have said throughout the winter that land values generally are rising faster than rental rates — an observation supported by the NASS report.

In Cass County, for instance, the average value of rented farmland in 2011 was 48 percent greater than the 2006 to ’10 average, while the average rental rate rose 28.2 percent from the 2006 to ’10 average to 2011.

The NASS report is available online at www.nass.usda.gov. On the website, go to “statistics by state” in the lower left hand corner, and select “North Dakota.” Then go to “North Dakota publications” and select “county rates and values.”

State-level estimates for cropland and pasture land values and cash rents are scheduled to be released Aug. 4.

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