15 Cheapest States to Buy Farmland in America

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Cheapest States to Buy Farmland in America
Cheapest States to Buy Farmland in America

People buy farmland for many reasons such as crop cultivation, livestock pasture, homesteading, timber production, and more. However, it can also serve as a great investment in the long run, as most farmlands usually appreciate over time. The United States is home to almost 894 million acres of farmland, out of which 27 percent is arable, while the rest of it can be utilized for ranching and other farming motives. Prices of farmland in all of its states vary a lot, with some states in the Northeast going as high as twenty thousand dollars per acre, while on the flip side, prices of farmland in the West and Southeast are much cheaper and can go for as low as 900 dollars for an acre of farmland.

In this article, we've ranked the cheapest states to buy farmland in the United States, all of these are ranked according to their median price per acre, which is accumulated by the recent report done by the United States Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, for the sake of reference, we'll also mention the year-on-year appreciation rate of all the states mentioned in this blog post. But bear in mind, we haven't taken tax rates into account while ranking these because most States impose different taxes. Overall, all of these states are unique in their own way. Some offer good cultivatable land with great irrigation systems, while others offer barren and remote farmlands. But in the end, the best place to invest depends upon the buyer's specific goals and priorities.

15. Oregon


It is one of the country's most geographically diverse states with everything from dense lush forests and volcanoes to crystal clear lakes, mountains, and the Pacific coastline. Most of the listed farmland in this state is in its western and southern parts. It's always been the premier destination for timber production and export, but thanks to its fertile soil and diverse typography, it's very easy to grow many crops throughout the state. Oregon is also a great state for those involved in the livestock, fishing, and vineyard industries. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, its average price per acre for farmland is about $3,040 with a year-on-year appreciation of almost 9%. However, these prices can fluctuate greatly depending on the region and type of farmland.

14. West Virginia

West Virginia

Situated entirely in the Appalachian region, West Virginia is known as the Mountain State. The terrain is almost entirely mountainous. The biggest industry in the Mountain State is coal mining, which contributes 98% of West Virginia's growth, but still, 24% of land in this state is characterized as farmland and most of it is underdeveloped and quite cheap. On top of this, the state permits homesteading and the buyer also owns the mineral rights, which means investors buying farmland here own the right to extract minerals from underneath their property. The median price for an acre of farmland is estimated at $3,000 and the year-on-year appreciation rate is roughly at 8%. On the downside, West Virginia is known for shallow, acidic soil which is not ideal for growing crops. Nonetheless, areas near river floodplains are more fertile and it can be a great place to raise livestock.

13. Mississippi


For those looking to buy farmland in the southern part, Mississippi often gets consideration as it ranks high in terms of producing agricultural goods and livestock. In addition, its farmland is quite valuable due to its proximity and natural wildlife, fishing opportunities, and gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches. Currently, an acre of decent farmland in Mississippi is going for around $3,000, and over the last couple of years, the price of farmland in the Magnolia state has been increasing by a rate of 6% annually. So those investing in farmland for the long term can certainly hold it and resell it later for profit. But bear in mind, not all farmland appreciates in Mississippi as there are some areas where, instead of increasing, prices have depreciated.

12. Maine


Known for its jagged coastline and heavily forested timberland, Maine is the most Northeastern U.S. state and one of the least densely populated. The state leads the nation in wild blueberry production and ranks second for maple syrup, but potatoes lead the way as its largest crop. Much of the farmland in Maine is extremely secluded and remote, with no signs of civilization in sight. Also, most of its listed farmland is in large parcels, which can lower the price per acre, even though the total asking price may be considered relatively high comparatively. According to a recent survey, the median price for an acre of farmland is about 2,800$ - 3,000$, with a high appreciation rate of 10%.

11. Utah


Consisting of stunning natural parks and a variety of wildlife, Utah is a great state for outdoor enthusiasts. A large amount of the state is made up of rugged terrain, arid deserts, and other challenging landscapes which means that the majority of the farmland here is used for grazing rather than traditional crop farming. The state’s diverse climate conditions favor a variety of farming, including wheat, hay, and even a growing wine industry. With average prices per acre around $2,810, the appreciation rate in Utah is approximately 7.3% annually.

10. Texas


Known for its large size and diverse climate, Texas is a significant player in the U.S. agricultural sector. The state is best known for its cattle ranching, leading the nation in total number of cattle. Texas is also a major producer of cotton, contributing around 25% of the country's total cotton yield.

The state's diverse climate ranges from arid in the west to humid in the east, allowing a wide range of crops and livestock to be raised successfully. This includes wheat, corn, and sorghum in the Panhandle; rice and sugar cane in the East; and fruits, vegetables, and wine grapes in the South and West Texas areas.

Texas also leads in several other agricultural commodities, such as mohair, wool, and hay. Besides, it's a significant player in the nursery and greenhouse industry, producing various plants for landscaping and gardening.

The cost of farmland in Texas can vary significantly, depending on the region and quality of the land. Farmland in the fertile eastern part of the state might be more expensive than in the arid western regions. Additionally, proximity to urban centers can also increase land value due to the potential for development.

In terms of appreciation, farmland in Texas has seen steady growth over the years, though the rate can vary depending on the specific region and land characteristics. Factors like water availability, soil quality, and infrastructure can play a crucial role in determining the land's value. The median price for an acre of farmland is around $2,650, with an annual appreciation rate of 11.3 %.

As with any investment, purchasing farmland in Texas should be considered with a thorough understanding of the local market conditions, the land's potential for agricultural production, and other potential uses.

9. Kansas


Known as the Wheat State, Kansas produces a significant portion of the United States wheat crop. In addition to wheat, the state grows large amounts of corn and soybeans and is a major beef producer. With large tracts of flat, fertile land available, the average price per acre for farmland in Kansas is around $2,630. The appreciation rate is estimated at 25.2%.

Investing in Kansas farmland requires a deep understanding of the agricultural industry, crop cycles, soil types, and water availability. Furthermore, potential investors should also be aware of the state's property tax structure, which can impact the total cost of owning farmland in Kansas. It's crucial to carry out due diligence and possibly engage the services of experts in agricultural real estate, law, and finance.

8. South Dakota

South Dakota

South Dakota can be a challenging, chilly, and isolated place to live, but the state has a rich agricultural history and cheap, plentiful farmland. In fact, it has always ranked in the top five best states in the U.S. regarding high farm income paired with a lower-than-average cost per acre of farmland - around $2,600 per acre. Agriculture is also this state's number one industry, with major field crops and cattle being the preferred products. The abundance of state parks also works to the farmer's benefit, with pollution hardly being a concern at all. Though most of its cheap farmland was snatched up long ago, it still boasts vacant land that is comparatively inexpensive.

7. Oklahoma


Living up to its musical reputation, Oklahoma is a great place to start farming or homesteading, with inexpensive land, relatively relaxed regulations, a long growing season, and a number of farming organizations. It currently sits at the lowest cost per acre among the best states for buying farmland in the U.S., making this state another great choice for investors looking for low-price-point farmland. Farm income is also relatively low in Oklahoma, but it does have the rural infrastructure and developed farmland communities needed to support growth. The average price per acre of farmland in Oklahoma is approximately $2,250 Moreover, its annual appreciation rate has also seen a sudden surge, with the last year's increase of more than 11%. All in all, it's a top producer of wheat and cattle, making it a great place to invest in wheat cropland and ranch land.

6. North Dakota

North Dakota

Famous for its plains and badlands that stretch across the state, North Dakota also boasts some of the most fertile farmland in the country. Though the climate can be challenging for farmers, the rewards can be high. With an average price per acre of farmland sitting around $2,000, which is almost 45% lower than the national average, the state offers a profitable investment. Its farm income is one of the highest in the U.S., and it's a leading producer of crops like dry beans and honey. Furthermore, North Dakota is quite relaxed in terms of water rights, zoning rules, and permit requirements, making it a more approachable state for newcomers to the farming industry. Additionally, its farmland real estate year-on-year appreciation rate clocks in at around 12%, showcasing the significant potential for return on investment in the long run.

5. Colorado


Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado offers a unique and diverse farming experience. The state is home to a thriving agricultural industry that features a mix of both crops and livestock, thanks to the state's variable topography and climate. The average cost per acre of farmland in Colorado is about $1,800, making it more affordable than the national average. Colorado is a significant producer of crops like corn, hay, and wheat, and it also has a substantial cattle industry.

The state has a supportive approach to farming, encouraging sustainable and organic practices, and is known for its active local food scene with farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets thriving across the state.

Another appealing aspect of Colorado is its commitment to water conservation. Water is a precious resource in the West, and Colorado has made concerted efforts to manage it wisely, with rules in place to prevent overuse and ensure fair distribution among farmers.

The potential for a profitable return on investment is considerable, as farmland in Colorado has seen a steady appreciation of approximately 10% year-on-year. Furthermore, Colorado's booming recreational industry also offers alternative sources of income for farmers, such as agritourism and farm stays. With its stunning landscapes and a dynamic, growing market, Colorado is a vibrant option for farm investment.

4. Nevada


The Silver State may be widely known for its entertainment industry centered in Las Vegas, but Nevada also boasts a thriving agricultural sector. Thanks to the state's arid climate and unique geography, Nevada farmland tends to be quite affordable, averaging around $1,000 per acre, making it an appealing option for those looking to invest in farmland.

Nevada's farming industry primarily focuses on cattle and sheep ranching, but crops such as alfalfa, hay, potatoes, and onions also thrive in this region. The state also has a strong history of dairy farming.

One of Nevada's main advantages is the state's commitment to promoting sustainable farming practices, backed by several government and private initiatives. There's a growing interest in local, sustainable food, which is fostering a dynamic farm-to-table movement in the state.

In terms of water rights, Nevada follows the doctrine of prior appropriation. This system, often described as "first in time, first in right," could offer some protection to farmers during periods of water scarcity, especially for those with established rights.

Nevada farmland has shown a consistent appreciation in value over the years, with an average increase of 5% annually. The rise in land value is supported by the state's steady economic growth, primarily driven by the tourism and entertainment sectors. Additionally, Nevada's attractive tax laws make it an appealing place for farm investment. However, it's essential to do a thorough investigation into local water availability and rights before making any decisions.

3. Montana


Known as "Big Sky Country," Montana has long been associated with agriculture, offering vast expanses of land at a relatively affordable average price, currently hovering around $1,030 per acre. The state's diverse geography, from fertile plains to mountainous terrains, allows for a broad range of agricultural operations.

The primary agricultural commodities in Montana include wheat, barley, and hay, which are grown in the Golden Triangle region, the state's most productive agricultural area. Montana also leads in pulse crop production, such as peas, lentils, and chickpeas, thanks to favorable soil conditions and a suitable climate.

Montana is one of the top-ranking states for beef cattle ranching, with numerous ranches spread across the state's open ranges. The quality of Montana's pastureland makes it a haven for raising healthy and high-quality livestock.

As part of the Pacific Northwest, Montana has easy access to ports for export, which is a significant advantage for farmers interested in tapping into international markets. Moreover, Montana's agricultural land has shown solid appreciation over the years, making it a robust investment choice.

However, farming in Montana does come with challenges, such as a relatively short growing season and some extreme weather conditions. Careful planning and understanding of local conditions are necessary to navigate these factors successfully. As a result, the state is best suited to experienced farmers or investors with a good understanding of the farming industry.

2. Wyoming


Home to almost 30 million acres of farmland and almost 12,000 farms, Wyoming is a state with plenty of wide-open spaces and a rich farming heritage that spans generations. It has been attracting land buyers and ranchers for quite a while now, and one of the main reasons for this is its low property taxes and absence of a state income tax. This combination makes it an excellent investment for those seeking high returns.

On average, an acre of farmland in Wyoming will cost about $850, which is less than one-fourth of the national average. Livestock-based farming does particularly well in this state as it follows an open-range system. This means that vast areas of Wyoming's land are open to livestock grazing, regardless of land ownership.

Wyoming's vast landscapes offer opportunities for various agricultural pursuits, making it a great choice for those interested in raising livestock or exploring other agricultural ventures. With its favorable tax environment and the potential for strong returns on investment, Wyoming stands out as one of the top states for farmland buyers and investors alike.

1. New Mexico

New Mexico

Although New Mexico's geography is surprisingly diverse, including forested mountains, fertile valleys, and grasslands, much of the state is made up of desert land. Due to this arid environment, it can be a challenging place to start growing crops on a farm. However, the network of local producers is strong, and New Mexico offers great potential for grazing and raising livestock.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the median cost per acre for New Mexico farmland is $710, making it the state with the cheapest farmland in the U.S. This affordability presents an excellent opportunity for aspiring farmers and investors to acquire land without breaking the bank.

New Mexico is also a place where you can experiment with different farming and homesteading projects, taking advantage of the relatively low land costs. The state's climate and land characteristics may not suit all types of agriculture, but it remains an attractive destination for those interested in livestock farming or other farming ventures that align with its unique environment.

In conclusion, New Mexico's affordable farmland and diverse geography make it an appealing option for those looking to invest in agricultural land or pursue farming and homesteading endeavors. With proper planning and the right approach, this southwestern state offers potential for growth and success in the agricultural sector.

In conclusion

investing in farmland can serve multiple purposes, from cultivating crops and raising livestock to serving as a long-term investment with appreciating value. The United States offers a wide range of farmland options, with prices varying significantly from state to state. While some states in the Northeast command high prices of up to $20,000 per acre, others in the West and Southeast offer more affordable options, going as low as $900 per acre.

Through this ranking of the cheapest states to buy farmland in the U.S., we've highlighted the unique characteristics and opportunities each state offers. In the end, the best place to invest in farmland depends on the buyer's specific goals and priorities, as each state has something unique to offer. Whether it's a long-term investment, crop cultivation, or ranching, the U.S. presents a wealth of opportunities for those looking to venture into the agricultural sector.