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Corn Belt farmland values stabilizing

Jeff Caldwell 08/27/2010 @ 9:18am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Another quarter, another period of slightly higher farmland values in the Corn Belt. That's according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its latest survey of land values in Iowa, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Indiana and Michigan.

What's more, many of the bankers surveyed by the Fed say they expect the overall 6% increase in values over the last quarter to continue almost indentically in the next quarter.

But, it's not all as ho-hum; farmers indicated they were a little more reluctant to borrow money for land because of general macroeconomic shakiness. Specific geography also played a larger role in the recent quarter's land gains, according to Fed business economist David Oppendahl.

"Location has been a major determinant for farmland values this year, even more significant than quality at times," he says. "There have been reports of prices boosted by bidding between farmers for desired parcels of farmland. However, higher quality land has tended to gain the most value over the longer term."

Looking ahead, Oppendahl says loan volume will stay about the same in the quarter ahead.

"For the period from July through September, 20% of the responding bankers forecasted farm non-real-estate loan volume to be higher than the previous year, while 18% forecasted lower volume," he says. "Once again, respondents expected higher volumes for operating loans and loans guaranteed by the Farm Service Agency in the third quarter of 2010."

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