In Iowa, Continuous CRP enrollments generally are not whole fields, but tend to be characterized as riparian buffer strips, waterways, or small highly sensitive lands.  Often, the areas put into CRP have Corn Suitability Ratings higher than the average of the field from which the enrollment was taken. 

Iowa has some of the highest nominal Continuous CRP rental rates in the country, with a state average of $226/acre. Figure 1 shows county average new enrollment rates for Continuous CRP in 2016.  Counties that have the highest CRP rental rates tend to be in the western/north western part of the state. For Continuous CRP in 2016, Woodbury county has the highest rental rates in the state at $319/acre.

Iowa also has some of the highest cash rental rates in the country at $223/acre, on average, three dollars per acre less than the state average Continuous CRP rate.  Cash rental rates are also less diverse across the state ranging from $150 to $ 281 per acre (not including counties for which cash rents have been redacted due to USDA privacy regulations) a $131/acre gap. The gap for continuous CRP rental rates ranges from $114 to $319 a $205 per acre gap.

Figure 3 shows the ratio of county average Continuous CRP rates in 2016 to county average cash rental rates in 2016.

In some counties it is a very close difference with only a few dollars or cents difference on a monthly average basis. However, there are also counties with continuous CRP rental rates that are 20-30 percent higher per acre than cash rents. Nearly 50 percent of counties in Iowa have continuous CRP rental rates that are, on average, greater than or equal to cash rental rates.

In 2016, Woodbury county had the highest ratio of Continuous CRP rental rates to Cash Rent rates at 124%.  Lyon county had the lowest ratio of Continuous CRP/Cash Rent rates at 74%.  There were 32 counties for which the Continuous CRP/Cash Rent ratio was within +/- 5% of 100%.

Data Source: United States Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency/National Agricultural Statistics Service

Preston Lyman is a Research Analyst with Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS). DIS is an Iowa-Based economic research firm which provides regular farm economics research and analysis to the Iowa Farm Bureau staff and members.