Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cornhusker Economics, October 21, 2015,


Copyright 2015 University of Nebraska.


A student came to my office not too long ago excited about the opportunity to purchase 80 acres of farmland close to his family抯 farm. His father offered to let him use the family machinery and equipment in exchange for labor. The student had properly worked his cost-and-return estimates for field corn and was excited that the undertaking looked like a profitable venture. So we took a look at the annual principal and interest payments that would be due over a 20-year and 30-year loan life given the price of the land and his available 25% down payment. Sadly, the deal did not even come close to cash flowing at the $4.25 per bushel corn price he had assumed. Corn prices would need to reach nearly $8.00 per bushel for the deal to cash flow, even with the machinery- for-labor trade.