Unlocking the Value of Nebraska Farmland: A Comprehensive Guide to Current Land Prices and Expert Insights - May 2024 Report

Welcome to Our Monthly Nebraska Farmland Value Report

In this monthly report, Jason Smith, Nebraska Land Broker and Auctioneer dives into Nebraska farmland values, helping you understand the factors that determine what your farm is potentially worth. Our goal as auctioneers and farmland real estate agents is to provide you with up-to-date information, recent sales data, expert insights, and tips for maximizing the potential value of your farmland sale. Let us answer the questions you have about selling farmland in Nebraska. Contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at 402-739-8696.

Cover image for farmland value report in Nebraska
Jason J Smith, Auctioneer

Jason J Smith, Auctioneer


Jason is an experienced farmland broker and auctioneer with extensive experience in farmland sales across this Midwest.  Jason has worked with hundreds of clients to create advantageous outcomes.  If you are selling land schedule a consultation with Jason by calling or using the calendar.

The Value of Grassland in Nebraska

Nebraska’s agricultural landscape is renowned for its robust pasture rental rates, making it one of the most lucrative places in the United States for cow-calf pairs or stocker/yearlings grazing. With rental rates at the top when compared to neighboring states and the nation, now could be an opportune moment for farmland owners to consider selling.

The high value of grazing in Nebraska is driven by several key factors:

  1. Abundant Crop Residue Grazing: Nebraska’s extensive corn cultivation, with approximately 9 million acres planted annually, provides plentiful crop residue for grazing cattle in the fall and winter. This availability of feed resources significantly boosts the demand for summer pasture grazing.
  2. Synergistic Agricultural Ecosystem: The state’s integration of corn production, distiller’s grain production, cattle feeding, and harvest facilities creates a synergistic effect, fostering a strong demand for quality calves and feeder cattle. Consequently, market prices for cattle in Nebraska are among the highest in the nation.
  3. Strong Ranching Community: Nebraska has a historically robust ranching community with many vocational ranchers competing for grazing resources. This competition drives demand for pasture leases as operators seek to grow and expand their businesses.

The economic importance of grazing is underscored by the concept of an Animal Unit Month (AUM), which represents the amount of grass a 1,000-pound cow consumes in a month, valued at approximately $35. This translates to about $90 per ton of grass consumed by the cow, highlighting the significant value of grazing land in Nebraska.

Why Sell Now?

Given the high value and demand for grazing land, selling farmland now can be a strategic decision for several reasons:

  1. Maximize Property Value: With Nebraska’s pasture rental rates being some of the highest in the country, the value of grazing land is at a peak. Selling now allows owners to capitalize on this high valuation, securing a profitable return on their investment.
  2. Strong Buyer Interest: The strong demand for grazing resources from ranchers looking to expand their operations means there are likely to be multiple interested buyers. This competition can drive up the sale price, benefiting the seller.
  3. Economic Stability: The economic stability provided by the robust agricultural ecosystem in Nebraska ensures that farmland remains a valuable asset. By selling now, owners can take advantage of this stability and reinvest in other opportunities or diversify their portfolios.

Grazing Management Strategies

For those considering selling, it’s essential to understand the value of the grass and the factors that contribute to effective grazing management. Here are three key questions to consider:

  1. Species of Grass and Forage Production: Knowing the types of grass present and the current level of forage production helps in assessing the land’s value and potential.
  2. Potential Based on Soil, Rainfall, and Topography: Understanding what the land could potentially produce based on its characteristics can highlight its long-term value and appeal to buyers.
  3. Drivers of Change for Production Systems: Identifying ways to improve and manage the grazing system can enhance the land’s productivity and attractiveness to potential buyers.


Nebraska’s high pasture rental rates and the strong demand for grazing land create a favorable environment for farmland owners looking to sell. By taking advantage of the current market conditions, sellers can maximize their returns and benefit from the state’s thriving agricultural economy. Understanding the value of grass and implementing effective grazing management strategies further enhances the land’s appeal, making now an excellent time to sell your farmland in Nebraska.

Recent Farmland Sales Data

Let’s dive into the latest sales data, including county location, land size by acre amount, soil productivity ratings, and sale prices per acre and total price in the table below. By analyzing this data, you can get a clearer picture of how your property may be valued in the current market.

Average Price of Farmland in Nebraska

• In the month of May, a total of 395.92 acres were sold in Nebraska from auction and private sales data.

• The current average per acre price for land in Nebraska according to these May sales is $5419.74 dollars per acre which has decreased from last month’s $6,471.97 per acre.

• The highest-selling farm in Nebraska in the month of May 2024 sold on May 17th in Kearney County for $1,400,000 or $8,721 per acre for 160.52 acres, with an NCCPI of 28.6.

• The farm with the highest selling price per acre for this month was the same farm sold on May 17th in Kearney County for $8,721 per acre for 160.52 acres, equaling $1,400,000. This farm had an NCCPI score of 28.6.

Farmland Auction Results in Nebraska May 2024

County Total Acres $/Acre Soil Score Total Price Date Sold
Chase 160.00 $5000.00 34.9 NCCPI $800000.00 05/23/2024
Kearney 160.52 $8721.65 28.6 NCCPI $1400000.00 05/17/2024
Lancaster 75.40 $8500.00 59.6 NCCPI $640900.00 05/07/2024
Average Dollar Per Acre 395.92 $5419.74 $2840900.00

Call us about selling your Nebraska land at 402-739-8696 , we can help you safely transition your land ownership using a private sale, public auction or even a private land auction.

Market Trends and Future Projections:

Nebraska Land Market Trends

Creighton’s Report on the Rural Mainstreet Economy for May 2024:

  1. Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) Decline: For the ninth consecutive month, the RMI has fallen below the growth-neutral threshold, registering at 44.2 in May, down from 45.8 in April. The index, which ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral, indicates that the region is experiencing economic contraction.
  2. Falling Farmland Prices: After maintaining growth for 53 straight months, farmland prices have taken a downturn. The farmland price index dropped to 47.9 in May from April’s 56.5. This decline suggests weakening demand and decreasing prices, with only 4.2% of bankers reporting expanded farmland prices.
  3. Reduced Agricultural Exports: Regional exports of agricultural goods and livestock have decreased by 9.5% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2023. This reduction in exports is exerting downward pressure on the agricultural economy.
  4. Decreased Farm Equipment Sales: The farm equipment sales index plummeted to 34.0 in May from 47.7 in April. This marks the 11th time in the past 12 months that the index has fallen below growth neutral, driven by higher borrowing costs and weaker grain prices.
  5. Higher Interest Rates: Bankers report average interest rates of 8.6% on farm operating loans and 7.4% on farmland loans. These elevated rates are tightening credit conditions, making it more expensive to finance agricultural operations and purchases.
  6. Pessimistic Economic Outlook: The confidence index among rural bankers has dropped to 28.8, the lowest since November of last year, indicating widespread pessimism about the economic outlook over the next six months. Weaker commodity prices, declining exports, and reduced equipment sales are contributing to this negative sentiment.

Nebraska’s Economic Snapshot

Nebraska, in particular, reflects the broader regional trends:

  • RMI and Farmland Prices: The Nebraska RMI fell to 41.8 in May from 42.7 in April. The state’s farmland price index dropped to 46.7 from 54.5.
  • Employment and Exports: The new-hiring index for Nebraska sank to 48.2. However, unlike the regional trend, Nebraska’s agricultural exports were up 19.4% year-to-date compared to 2023, providing a slight positive amid the broader downturn.

Why Sell Now?

  1. Maximize Current Value: With farmland prices starting to decline and economic indicators pointing to further contraction, selling now allows you to maximize the current value of your property before prices potentially fall further.
  2. Avoid Financial Strain: Higher interest rates and tightening credit conditions mean increased costs for maintaining and operating farmland. Selling now can help avoid financial strain from these rising expenses.
  3. Capitalize on Buyer Interest: Despite the downturn, there may still be interest from buyers looking to invest in farmland, especially those seeking to expand their operations. The current market conditions might prompt buyers to act quickly before prices drop further.
  4. Strategic Reinvestment: By selling now, you can liquidate your assets and reinvest in more stable or promising opportunities, diversifying your portfolio and reducing exposure to the volatile agricultural market.
  5. Economic Pessimism: The widespread pessimism among rural bankers about the economic outlook underscores the uncertainty ahead. By selling now, you can mitigate the risks associated with potential further economic decline.

In Summary

The current economic conditions in rural America, as reflected by the latest RMI report, suggest that now is a strategic time to sell your farmland. With declining prices, higher interest rates, and a pessimistic economic outlook, selling now allows you to secure the maximum value for your property and avoid potential financial hardships. The decision to sell your farmland in 2024 could be a prudent move, positioning you for greater financial stability and new investment opportunities.

Navigating the Selling Process:

Tips for Selling Your Farm in Nebraska

Explore a set of practical tips for successfully selling your farmland by downloading our free eBooks here. Schedule a nonobligatory consultation with us today and we will cover everything from when is the best time to sell, a customized marketing plan, sales methods, how we can help you find the right buyer, and answer your questions.

Farm Real Estate Experts in Nebraska

Meet our team of Nebraska farm real estate and auction experts who can provide you with valuable guidance and personalized assistance throughout the selling process. If you’re looking to uncover the true value of your Nebraska farm or are considering selling, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team. We’re here to provide you with a customized plan to meet your goals. Contact us today to get started.

Assessing Your Farm’s Worth:

Nebraska Land Market Analysis Appraisal Technique

Curious what your farm could sell for? We prepare market analysis for each of our farmland sellers to help you discover and learn what your farm is worth from our market based research and expertise. Fill out our form here to request a market analysis of your Nebraska farmland or call us at 402-739-8696