North Dakota pastureland rental rates and land values recovered some of last year’s decline heading into 2021.

Statewide average pastureland rental rates moved up 3% from $17.40 per acre in 2020 to $17.90 per acre in 2021. Pastureland values increased 1.92% from $817 per acre in 2020 to nearly $833 per acre in 2021, according to county-level data compiled from the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands annual survey posted online at https://bit.ly/2Qn2UCR.

Pastureland rental rates moved upward in the north-central, south-central and southeastern regions while declining modestly in the northwest, southwest and the east-central regions. The biggest increases occurred in the south-central and north-central regions, moving up nearly $2 per acre in the south-central and $1.20 per acre in the north-central region.

“The remaining movements in pasture rental rates were more than small enough to be explained by noise in data and smaller sample sizes,” says Bryon Parman, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural finance specialist. “However, statewide average rental rates since 2015 have been pretty steady, from $18.20 per acre to $17.10 per acre.

“Additionally, rental rates are not reported for the northeast, northern Red River Valley or southern Red River Valley regions due to sparse data availability in those areas,” he adds.

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The highest dollar-per-acre rental rates remain in the eastern portion of North Dakota, with the southeast having the highest price per acre of $32.51. The central portion of the state, including the south-central and east-central regions, remains at about $22 per acre.

The western regions have the lowest rental rate, with the northwest at $11 per acre and the southwest at just above $17 per acre. Most of the variation across the state is explained by increased stocking rates in the east, as well as pressure from cropland rent and value movements, Parman says.

Pastureland values across NDSU regions showed some wide swings, with the northwestern region increasing 16.5% while the southeastern region declined nearly 10%. The remaining regions increased between about 1.5% and 7%, with the south-central increasing about 6.8% and the north-central increasing 1.5%.

“Much of the wide swings in pastureland values, like pastureland rents, is due to data availability and counties with small sample sizes,” Parman says. “However, when looked at through time, the values are much more stable.”

The five-year average pastureland values for the northwest, north-central, southwest, south-central, southeast and east-central are $582, $788, $906, $1,008, $1,341 and $943 per acre, respectively, which is within a few percentage points of any given year during that time period. However, all regional pastureland values in 2021 are higher than their respective five-year averages, which indicates that an increase in pastureland values has occurred year over year in North Dakota.