Cash Rents

The Cash Rents Survey provides the basis for county estimates of the cash rent paid for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pasture.  The 2008 Farm Bill mandated that NASS provide mean rental rates for all counties with 20,000 acres of cropland plus pasture.

NASS conducts the county-level Cash Rents survey every other year in all states except Alaska, beginning with a release in September, 2016. U.S. and state estimates are released in August every year using the June Area Survey. Previously, an annual survey was conducted from 2008 until 2014.  All qualifying counties in these states are represented in the sample.  The target population is all farms and ranches that have historically rented land on a cash basis for any of the three land use categories.  Land rented for a share of the crop, on a fee per head, per pound of gain, by animal unit month (AUM), rented free of charge, or land that includes buildings such as barns are excluded from the survey.


U.S and State estimates will be published on the USDA-NASS Quick Stats database the first week of August, every year.

County estimates will be published on the Quick Stats database the second week of September, every other year.

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Program Content

Approximately 280,000 farms and ranches across the United States are contacted for their total acres operated and acres rented for cash for each land use category (irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and permanent pasture) for the current year.  For each land use category with positive acres, respondents are given the option of reporting rent per acre or total dollars paid.


The Farm Service Agency (FSA) uses cash rent county estimates to determine market-based rates in administering USDA programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  Other state and federal government agencies, universities, and research organizations use these data for other forms of economic analysis.  The data provide farmers and ranchers with current information about rental rates in their county and are available for their use in making decisions regarding renting and leasing farmland.


The Cash Rents Survey is conducted every other year beginning with the first mail out in mid-February.


Data collection for the Cash Rents Survey is conducted by mail and telephone.  The initial mail-out occurs in mid-February followed by a second mailing in mid-March.  Non-response phone follow-up is conducted from April to July from NASS’ Data Collection Centers.  Some field follow up is conducted to insure adequate response rates for the survey.  Over 35 percent of the survey is collected by mail.

Data are summarized to provide the mean cash rental rate for each land use category in each district and county.  District and county mean rates must reconcile to a previously published state mean cash rental rate for each category.  State level mean cash rents are estimated from the Cash Rents Survey.  Samples for this survey are drawn with a county-level stratified design.  An additional indication is also available from the June Area Survey.  This is a probability sample of land segments selected from the complete NASS area sampling frame stratified and sampled by intensity of agriculture.

Related Programs

Census of Agriculture
June Area Survey

Last Modified: 08/06/2019