US farmland value decline driven by Plains and Crop Belt

A USDA report shows gains in Southeast and Pacific cropland were outweighed by declines in the major grain-producing regions of the US.

US cropland has declined in value by 1 percent since 2015 according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture. Average value for all US farmland was $3,010 in August 2016, compared with $3,020 during the same period 2015, representing a 0.3 percent decline.

Declining value for cropland in the Corn Belt and Northern Plains outweighed gains in the rest of the country. The Northern Plains region saw the greatest decline in value at 5.4 percent. The Southeast was the best performing region this year, with cropland values increasing by 4 percent, followed by the Pacific states which saw a collective 2.8 percent rise.

The diverging trends between regions echoes recent reports that speciality and permanent crop returns have been stronger than those for commodity row cropland since grain prices peaked in 2012. Both the Northern Plains and Corn Belt regions are major producers of corn, soy and other grain, while the Southeast and Pacific states have higher production levels for a variety of horticultural crops.

However, as previously reported by Agri Investor, recently released data from NCREIF shows that permanent cropland incomes have fallen significantly since 2013, despite positive land appreciation in 2015.

US pasture value remained on average unchanged from last year, as appreciation in the Southeast and Delta regions was offset by declines in the Northeast and Corn Belt.