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Cropland rental rates

This provides a historical perspective on rental rates paid by a group of Minnesota farmers and trends in those rental rates over the past five years.

This information is meant as a guide and starting point. The information and data is not meant to establish, determine, set, fix or even hint at what actual rents should be. It is simply a reporting of historical land rental rates in Minnesota. 

Historical rental data is included. Weighted average rental rates are listed by county for each year. 

There is really no way to statistically project future rental rates. Keep in mind the numbers listed are weighted averages. That means there are rents both above and below the numbers listed. Again, these numbers are merely a starting point. 

Also included is the 2017 county rental data gathered by the USDA National Ag Statistical Service (NASS) in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The USDA/NASS data is collected by mail-out survey state-wide and the resulting 2017 data is included in this document. It is an excellent comparison to use with the FINBIN data. 

Icon of spreadsheet.

Cropland rental rates spreadsheet

View information for your county in our cropland rental rates spreadsheet.

Analysis method

The FINBIN database includes enterprise level income and expenses for thousands of acres of Minnesota farmland. To compile this report, rental rates are extracted for cash rented land. All row crop acres, small grain acres, canning crop acres, etc. are included in the data analysis. Not included in the analysis are acres allocated to pasture, aftermath grazing, hay and haylage acres, CRP acres, fallow and prevented planted acres. All normal farming practices for the regions were included in the analysis. The USDA/NASS numbers are for row crops on non-irrigated land only.

Data is organized by county. Counties with a minimum of 10 farms with cash rented acreage are included. If a given county does not have rent data listed, there were not enough farms reporting data. Counties with only partial FINBIN data and a USDA/NASS number have been included because they now meet the 10 farm minimum criteria. Counties with only a USDA/NASS number have less than 10 farmers reporting FINBIN data.

Note: Several counties in north, east and west central Minnesota regions have no FINBIN rental rates reported this year. That is due to staff reductions in Farm Business Management programs and resulting loss of participating farms in those counties. USDA/NASS data for those regions are listed.

The 2017 USDA/NASS data for each county is included for purposes of comparison. The majority of Minnesota Counties have a 2017 USDA/NASS average rent number listed. The numbers are for non-irrigated farm land only. 

Keep in mind that these rental rates include both family and un-related party land rental contracts as well as long-term rental contracts. Rental rates between family members can be lower than those between un-related parties. Long-term rental contracts generally do not change dramatically during the length of the contract and therefore may affect the weighted average numbers used in the data calculations. Please note that the land rental rates shown here may not align with rents being paid for new land coming on the market.

Regional change in rental rates from 2012 to 2017

Following is a table showing average annual changes in land rental rates for the years 2012 through and including 2017 and the one-year change from 2016 to 2017. These changes are based on weighted averages to compensate for differences in acres and rental rates from the various counties in each region. The land rental numbers used to calculate the percent change values are also from the FINBIN database. Also included is a statewide percent change.

In several regions, the five-year percent change is negative, meaning that rates have declined below their 2012 levels. However, there was a significant increase in most cases prior to 2012.

The 2016-2017 annual change data shows a slight downward trend in rental rates for six of the eight regions. In West Central and East Central regions there was an increase. There was an increase in number of acres in West Central.  But there is no definitive way of determining the cause for this. East Central has limited data available and none is available for North Central.

Because of these anomalies, the land rental rates listed are again merely a starting point or guide and not an absolute rental rate. The percentage figures are not meant to predict future increases but are merely to document how regional and state rental rates have changed over the years.

You can search FINBIN for land rental data specific to a county or region (assuming there are enough farmers reporting rent values) as well as other farm data. 

Total percentage change in land rental rates

Region 2012-2017 2016-2017
Northwest 14.4% -0.6%
West Central 9.5% 4.9%
Central 0.7% -3.2
East Central 42.9% 3.9%
Southwest -1.0% -4.2%
South Central -3.2% -4.3%
Southeast -3.0% -3.3%
State 4.1% -3.9%

Dave Bau, Extension educator; Dale Nordquist, former Extension economist; Rann Loppnow, Center for Farm Financial Management; Pauline Van Nurden, Center for Farm Financial Management

Reviewed in 2017

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