We're gaming the system, IMHO. Consider the results from my county cash rent survey for 2009:
- Producers are not as naive about this data as NASS thinks. No good can come from reporting a high cash rent. It could add to CRP rental rates, taking ground out of production, for example.
- We are only getting low rents in the survey. I did not report mine, for example.
- Producers are phoning them in low to keep comparables from pushing rates up. Producers need to point to a low average to convince owners what a good deal they are getting.
- Rents on poorer ground in my county are dropping.
- Variable cash rents are kicking in more emphatically.