Based on two recent reports of county average cash rents in Illinois, experts at the University of Illinois see cash rent decreasing on professionally managed land, as well as on above-average rents. Below-average cash rents may remain stable or decrease.
There is a considerable range in cash rents for similar productivity farmland within a small geographical area, with some rents above the average by $100 and other rents below the average by $100. Below average cash rents could continue to increase to "catch up" with average levels. At the same time, above average cash rents could decrease, as indicated by results from the Illinois Society. These two forces could counter each other, leading to stable or maybe even increasing average cash rent levels.
Projections are for much lower returns in 2014 and 2015 return. Even with decreases in cash rents projected by the Illinois Society, farmer returns would be projected to decrease because returns have decreased more than cash rents.