Dennis Sun: It’s Fall At Last

Columnist Dennis Sun writes: "The demand for productive agricultural land nationwide has ballooned over the last couple of years. In essence, what landowners have, others want also."

Dennis Sun

October 10, 20213 min read

Dennis sun wyo
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I’ve been waiting for fall all summer. It is my favorite time of the year and I’m not a hot weather person. This year, we’ve had around six months of summer. They say the weather always balances out and I sure hope it is easy on us in the coming months.

While the calf markets have been going sideways or dropping a little lately, one can find some positives out there and some of those positives are pretty strong. 

To the average rancher or farmer, rising land prices are usually not a good occurrence, but I feel they are a good indicator for the health of the industry. If those who are buying land as an investment think land is a safe buy, this should help at the bank.

The demand for productive agricultural land nationwide has ballooned over the last couple of years. In essence, what landowners have, others want also. The result is real estate values for pastureland, cropland and farmland has increased across the nation. 

According to the National Agricultural Statistical Survey (NASS) Land Values 2021 Summary, farm real estate values – a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on U.S. farms – averaged $3,380 per acre for 2021. This is up $220 per acre or 7.8 percent. 

Rangeland, the largest component from an acreage standpoint of the three, jumped 5.7 percent. The average value of an acre of pastureland is at $1,480 per acre, an increase of $80 per acre. This figure would be straight pastureland without any recreational values. 

Some of the reasons for the rising prices are government programs enacted in response to both the pandemic and the trade war with China, which have benefited farmers and other landowners.

Another positive for cattle producers is the rising value of the cattle by-products. The hide and offal have really jumped in recent months. 

Steer hide and offal values have risen from around $6.93 per hundredweight (cwt) on a live fed steer basis in July 2020 to an Oct. 1, 2021 value of $15.44 per cwt, an increase of close to 120 percent. This increase is led by hide values brought on by demand for leather car seats, for edible and inedible tallow and other by-products like tongues, livers, hearts, cheeks, tripe and meat scrapes. These minor items add another 9.3 percent to the total by-product values and are mostly exported. It all adds up. 

Finally, the smart consumers at grocery stores are realizing fake meat products are not the solution to climate change. Those who view climate change as a major issue may have fallen for the mistaken reasoning that alternative proteins are a solution. Consumers, because of ranchers and farmers telling their story, are recognizing that in order to make real change, beef and lamb producers must be a part of the solution. 

“Every food has an impact, so simply changing from one to another will never be a productive solution,” says Chuck Coffey, a guest columnist in The Oklahoman. And now, the science is disputing the claims of the alternative protein companies as their false marketing doesn’t hold water. 

Have a great fall.

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist