Ag Land Values Up Again in Nebraska for Second Straight Year

March 15, 2021, 3:11 p.m. ·

Nebraska ranchland. (Photo courtesy of UNL)

Agriculture land values were up again last year in Nebraska according to a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln survey. The increases come as comforting news for farmers and ranchers who saw land values plummet a few years ago.

UNL’s 2021 Farm Real Estate Market Survey shows agricultural land in Nebraska rose in value by about 6% compared to 2019, to a statewide average of just under $2900 an acre. It’s the second straight year farm real estate has gone up in value. An increase in commodity prices and low interest rates were two of the biggest factors in the jump in value.

“We like to see gradual changes instead of extreme fluctuations,” said Jim Jansen, who co-authored the survey. “Two years of slight increases would be more indicative of a period in which things are a little bit stable in farm real estate.”

Irrigated cropland was more valuable than dry cropland and cropland rental rates also increased 5-7%. Jansen said there are some things to look out for in the coming year.

“We’re in a period now that things appear to be better than they’ve been but also in 2021 we look forward to drought,” Jansen said. “I do recognize over this past weekend we’ve seen some moisture spread throughout the state, but I would say drought is a major concern for this upcoming year as well as what price levels will the crops or livestock sectors be experiencing later in 2021 and 2022.”

Agriculture land values in Nebraska dropped dramatically after 2014 and stayed low until 2018, mostly because of low commodity prices.