The average value for U.S. pastureland rose 1.5% this year to $1,350 per acre, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2017 Land Values Summary reported in August. The new value reflects an increase of $20 per acre from 2016 and a record high since the USDA began keeping records.
By comparison, the average acre of cropland is worth $4,090, a level unchanged from 2016 and the third highest on record.
Regionally, pasture values range widely. Overall, the Southeast has the highest pastureland values now in the country with an average value of $3,910 per acre, the USDA reports. That dollar amount contributes to the smallest regional cropland/pastureland value differential in the country—less than 1%.
Other regions rounding out the top five for pastureland average values include the Northeast, $3,420; Appalachian, $3,340; Delta States, $2,480; and the Corn Belt, $2,380.
During the past year, the Delta States saw the highest average increase in pastureland values with a 2.9% gain over 2016. The largest boost was in Louisiana, which saw a jump of 3.8% to $2,700 per acre, followed by Arkansas at a 2.9% increase to $2,520 per acre.
Elsewhere, pastureland values rose in the single digits on a year-over-year basis in a number of areas. States seeing a positive boost in average values include 3.9% in South Dakota ($1,060); 3.1% in Texas ($1,650); and 3% ($1,700) in Minnesota.
The largest decrease for any region, at 1.7%, was in the Corn Belt. Prices tumbled in Iowa by 8.8% to an average of $3,100 per acre. Illinois average values dropped 2.9% to $3,300 per acre and Ohio dropped 1.6% to $3,050.
A dozen states—including Colorado, Oklahoma, and Wyoming—reported no change to the value of pastureland to date this year.