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Farmland Values Lower Year-Over-Year But Still Relatively High, Sales Show

The value of farm land in the biggest corn and soybean producing states fell between 2014 and 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and likely will decline again this year as commodity prices remain low.

The farmland index from the University of Illinois shows that 2015 values fell only slightly from the prior year, but more dramatically in 2016. With the cost of ag land in 1979 being a 100 on the index, 2014 came in at a reading of 405, 2015 had a reading of 404 and 2016 had a reading of 398. Prior to that, the value of crop land year-over-year hadn’t declined since 2009.

In Iowa, land prices declined 1.9% per acre from 2015 to 2016, Indiana farmers saw their land values fall 1.3% and in Nebraska, the price of agriculture real estate dropped 3.3%, data from the USDA show.

About 195 acres of land in Adair County, Iowa, sold for $1.305 million in March for an average of $6,692 an acre, according to website AcreValue, which shows real estate prices for plats of land in four states. About 116 acres nearby sold for $450,000, or $3,879 an acre, a month earlier.

Dollars and Dirt, a company that shows average prices for land, said in a report on its website that the average value for farmland in Adair County is 5,530 an acre. Southwest Iowa values total about $6,060 an acre, according to the site.

The value of the sale likely depends on the quality of the land, the soil and its location, so different per-acre prices are to be expected. Still, the average price for an acre of land in Iowa in 2016 was $7,850 an acre, according to the USDA.

In Illinois, an acre of land in Illinois was worth $7,400 in 2016. As always, however, some areas fetch bigger premiums. McLean County, in the middle of the state, saw three land sales this year in the range of $8,700 to $9,700 per acre. The largest tract - 81 acres - sold for $776,000.

mclean-county

Click here to view the AcreValue report for the sale of 81 acres in McLean County, Illinois. 

Land Watch, a site that shows acreages for sale, has several listings in the county ranging from $10,500 an acre to $11,100 an acre.

In Indiana, where the average price of land was unchanged between 2015 and 2016 at about $7,150 an acre, land sold for $5,600 an acre in Harrison County, Indiana, and for a range of $2,950 to $4,700 in De Kalb County, Indiana, according to AcreValue.

de-kalb-indiana

This AcreValue report for De Kalb County, Indiana, shows that one of the properties included buildings while the other did not.

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