Top 10 Highest Cash Rents by County

USDA Survey Shows Top 10 Cash Rent Averages by County in Corn Belt

Susan Payne
By  Susan Payne , DTN Social Media and Young Farmer Editor
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Here are the highest county cash rent averages for non-irrigated cropland in 10 Corn Belt states in 2023, showing the dollars per acre. The rate ranged from $367/acre in Illinois to $220/acre in Michigan. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise/Kathy Myers)

Editor's Note: This article has been updated and corrected with information from the USDA NASS 2023 Cash Rents Survey.


OMAHA (DTN) -- Illinois is the most expensive state in the Corn Belt to cash rent non-irrigated cropland, dominating nine of the Top 10 Highest Cash Rents by County in the Corn Belt, according to survey data released by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service on Aug. 25.

USDA's national survey, which includes data from about 250,000 farmers with $1,000 or more in agricultural sales, is conducted each year from mid-February until June. This year, specifically out of 903 counties surveyed across the Corn Belt, data was collected from 877 counties to compile the list of cash rent averages on non-irrigated land; for this article, DTN is focusing on 10 states in the Corn Belt list, rather than the national data.

In 2022, eight Illinois and two Iowa counties made the most expensive cash rent listing. However, this year, Illinois added another county to the top 10.


Moultrie, Piatt, De Witt, Macon, Logan and Douglas counties of Illinois returned for another year on the list and were joined by Sangamon, Woodford and Champaign counties of Illinois.

Iowa's Sioux County dropped off the listing, but Iowa's Grundy County remained in the Top 10.


On some county-level data, USDA didn't receive enough answers to its surveys. In those cases, USDA doesn't publish county averages. This is a common practice by USDA to protect landowners and producers in those non-published areas. Twenty-six counties, out of a total of 903 surveyed, were unlisted among these states or grouped as "other."

You can find the raw data, which includes more detailed information for irrigated cropland and pasture, here:….

Of the 877 counties listed in the survey, these are the most expensive counties in the Corn Belt for non-irrigated cropland in 2023.


1) Moultrie County, Illinois, $367/acre

Moultrie County climbed to the top of the list of most expensive counties to pay cash rent. This is $36/acre higher than in 2022.

2) Piatt County, Illinois, $362/acre

At $362 per acre -- up $31 -- for renting non-irrigated cropland with cash, Piatt County made its way to second place on the listing compared to 2022 as the most expensive county to cash rent.

3) Macon County, Illinois, $339/acre

The county's average cash rent value rose $28 from 2022 to earn the third-highest cash rent average in the Corn Belt. Last year it was also in third place at $311 per acre.

4) Logan County, Illinois, $337 per acre

Logan County increased $18 from 2022 to $337/acre.

5) Grundy County, Iowa, $329/acre

As the only non-Illinois listing in the Top 10, Grundy County had a $25/acre jump from the year prior.

6) De Witt County, Illinois, $328/acre

Up $32/acre from 2022, De Witt County remained on the list for another year.

7) Sangamon County, Illinois, $327/acre

Following close behind De Witt, Sangamon County averages $327/acre for renting non-irrigated cropland. USDA NASS' report for Sangamon in 2022 was unlisted.

8) Woodford, Illinois, $321/acre

The county had a $48 increase from its 2022 cash rent listing of $273.

9) Champaign, Illinois, $316/acre

Champaign's average cash rental rate was unlisted in the 2022 Cash Rent survey database for 2022.

10) Douglas, Illinois, $313/acre

Up $15 from $298/acre in 2022, Douglas earned the last spot in the Top 10; however, in 2022, Douglas was higher in the listing at No. 7.


While Illinois dominates the Top 10 highest average cash rent by county in the Corn Belt with nine listings, other Midwest states also saw a general increase in cash rental rates.

Here are the 10 Corn Belt states with the highest county averages per state:

1) Moultrie County, Illinois, $367/acre

Up $36/acre from 2022, as mentioned earlier.

2) Grundy County, Iowa, $329/acre

Outside of Illinois, Iowa's Grundy County has the highest cash rental rates in the Corn Belt, although with only a slight increase of $25/acre from 2022.

3) Benton County, Indiana, $298/acre

Cash rental rates in this Indiana county increased by $33/acre from its 2022 average cash rental listing of $265/acre.

4) Dakota County, Nebraska, $286/acre

This Nebraska county saw an increase of $32 from its 2022 average of $254/acre.

5) Sibley County, Minnesota, $285/acre

Sibley County went unlisted in 2022; however, from its 2021 average of $250/acre, the county only saw a $35 increase to this year.

6) Lafayette County, Wisconsin $259/acre

The county saw a $24 increase from its $235/acre cash rental average in 2022.

7) Union County, Kentucky, $255/acre

In 2022, the county averaged $231/acre, before rising $24 to its current $255/acre average.

8) Shelby County, Ohio, $239/acre

The average rental rate increased by $3 from $236/acre in 2022.

9) Atchison County, Missouri, $216/acre.

The county saw an increase of $13 from its 2022 cash rental average of $203.

10) Huron County, Michigan, $220/acre

Huron County was the only county on this listing to decrease its cash rental rates from $231 in 2022 to $220/acre in 2023, an $11 drop.

To view the 2022 listings, visit…

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Susan Payne

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