Farmland returned 20.9%, its highest annual return since it posted a 21.2% return in 2006. According to NCREIF, last year's return for its farmland index was up 233 basis points from a year ago, with the total return split between appreciation (11.5%) and income (8.7%).

The index was up 9.26% during the fourth quarter (5.02% appreciation and 4.24% income), down slightly from a year ago (9.56%). According to NCREIF, the fourth quarter almost always has the highest income return due to the conclusion of the sale of crops during the year.

In a news release, Christopher Jay, chairman of the NCREIF Farmland Committee and director of financial analysis with Prudential Agricultural Investments noted “eight of the past 10 years have also seen returns of more than 15% on a total farmland basis. Global macroeconomic trends are continuing to shape demand for agricultural products with favorable results for both income and asset values.”