USDA Releases 2017 Cash Rent Averages for Maryland and Delaware



Photo of barn at Friendship Farm Park in Charles County MD by Scrawl Design


USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) updated data on cash rent paid by farmers in 2017. NASS collects this data from 240,000 farms across the United States annually through the Cash Rent Survey – data used by other agencies throughout USDA. The survey results can also give us an idea of what other tenants in the area may be paying per acre for farmland.

One important note: many of you often ask me just what is a good cash rent price. I honestly have no idea what a fair cash rent price is for you, or the other party, based on the farmland. The averages will give you a good starting point, but you should always consider determining what a good price is for you. Resources exist at to help you calculate a cash rent, a crop-share rent, or a flex-cash rent. Utilizing these resources first can help you determine rent prices that will work for you.

US Averages            Nationally, cash rent averages in 2017 were mixed (table 1). Non-irrigated cropland cash rent went from $125/acre in 2016 to $123/acre in 2017 or a 1.69 percent decrease. Irrigated cropland saw a 2.91 percent increase, going from $206/acre on average in 2016 to $212/acre on average in 2017 (table 1). Pasture rent decreased from an average of $13/acre in 2016 to $12.50/acre in 2017 or a 3.85 percent decrease (table 1).

How did we do in Maryland and how did Delaware do compared with the national Delawareincreases? The answer depends on where you lease farmland. Delaware saw cropland cash rents down by 0.91 percent (table 2). Cropland cash rents in Delaware dropped from $1/acre in 2017 going from $110 in 2016 to $109 in 2017 (table 2). The average irrigated cropland in Delaware dropped by 3.33 percent in 2017 down from $150/acre average in 2016 to $145/acre average in 2017 (table 2).

Maryland            Maryland saw a 6-percent decrease of average non-irrigated cropland cash rent or down $6/acre to $94/acre in 2017 (table 3). Average irrigated cropland increased by 8.57 percent in 2017, up from $175/acre average in 2016 to $190/acre average in 2017 (table 3). Average pastureland cash rents were down 11.11 percent in Maryland in 2017, down from $45/acre in 2016 to $40/acre in 2017 (table 3).

NASS will not release county cash rental rates in 2017. County averages are only released in even years, to see last year average cash rents, click here.

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