October 4, 2023

LINCOLN — Prices for Nebraska farmland rose 14% in 2023, the fourth consecutive year for an increase and a new record high, according to a recent University of Nebraska report.

The average price for an acre of ag land in the state was $3,835 as of Feb. 1, up from $3,360 in the previous year, according to the final 2022-2023 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights report.

High crop prices, farm expansion and non-farmer investor interest were cited as major factors in the increased prices in the report, published by the Center for Agriculture Profitability at NU.

High interest rates also pushed farm operators and investors to purchase land as a hedge against inflation, according to Jim Jansen, a co-author of the report.

farmland prices
(Courtesy of the Center for Agricultural Profitability, University of Nebraska)

“Land acts as a hedge against inflation by increasing in price as the impact of rising prices takes hold across the economy,” Jansen said.

The highest priced agricultural land was gravity- and center-pivot-irrigated cropland, which averaged $7,905 and $8,760 per acre, respectively.

The highest increases in farmland values were in the eastern sector of the state, with 10 counties in southeast Nebraska showing a 17% rise, to $7,090 an acre.

The average price in the middle-east section of Nebraska was $9,320 — a 15% increase and the highest ag land values in the state. Meanwhile, the average price of farmland in northeast Nebraska was $8,035, a 16% increase.

Western regions of Nebraska reported smaller increases, ranging from approximately 10% to 13%.

Austin Harthoorn, an economist with the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said that higher prices typically mean higher property tax bills for farmers.

“However, the economy has been so strong the last few years, farmers are in a very good place to handle that,” he said. “It’s a very profitable time to be in agriculture.”


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