2013 farm land rent will increase on average

Farm land rent has stayed the same for some but has peaked for others in response to the current outlook for commodity prices.

Get any group of farm land owners together for more than a few minutes and the discussion will quickly turn to the topic of farm land rent. In rural communities, everyone seems to be impacted in some way by the rapidly changing land rental values. What we often see is the debate of what will happen to farm land rental rates in 2013 as landowners renew their rental agreements. Several factors will come to play in this discussion:

Looking at the most recent 2012 Michigan Land Value and Leasing Rates Survey, it will show an increase in land rental rates for 2012.

It is clear that some farm land rental rates will increase for 2013 as they are still lagging behind the increasing trend over the past several years. Farm land owners who pushed up rents over the past couple of years will see their rent values remain the same or even see some decreases from the record high rents paid in 2012.

We have noticed in the Saginaw Valley region that farm land rental rates have increased over the past few years on the most productive land. In general, farm land rental rates increased 30 percent or more from the years of 2008 to 2012. However, farms that have no-tile or poorly tiled drainage continue to lag behind in the rent being paid. We now have some cash rental rates paid in 2012 that are overpriced when related to the current market and production estimates for 2013. So for some farms, a decrease in land rents will be justified and expected.

Most farm operators need to shift to a combination of flex rental arrangement, which has a minimum cash value but allows for a bonus or increase in rents paid. The flex rental agreement provides for higher land rental rates to be paid if the gross income (yields x prices) are higher than normal. We see a wide variety of methods being used to provide some flexibility in the total rent being paid. You can find a variety of farm land rental information at Michigan State University Extension educator, Dennis Stein’s farm management web page.