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Iowa land values hit plateau -- survey

Jeff Caldwell 09/20/2013 @ 2:35pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Farmland in three of Iowa's nine crop reporting districts saw a downturn in value in the last six months, according to the latest Iowa Realtors Land Institute (RLI) survey of land values, the results of which were released this week.

Land in the northeast, southwest, and west-central parts of the state saw the upward trend in values turn into the red, however slightly: Farm ground in the northeastern part of the state was 0.7% lower in value compared to six months earlier, while land in the other two areas was 0.5% lower, according to the RLI's survey of ag lenders around the state.

"The results of these surveys show a statewide average increase of cropland values of 1.2% for the March 2013 to September 2013 period. Combining this increase with the 9.4% increase reported in March 2013 indicates a statewide average increase of 10.6% for the year from September 1, 2012, to September 1, 2013," according to a report from Kyle Hansen of the Iowa Land Realtors Institute. "The nine Iowa crop reporting districts showed a mixed response. The districts varied from a 5.0% increase in EC district to a -0.7% decrease in NE district since March 2013."

Farmland values in Iowa, according to the most recent Iowa RLI survey of that state's farm managers and ag lenders.    (Chart courtesy Iowa RLI)

Grain prices and interest rates -- two factors that have been seen as drivers of a wider-scale easing of the climb in land values across the Corn Belt -- are also to blame for the relative easing of values in Iowa, Hansen adds.

"Factors contributing to current farmland values include: lower commodity prices, increase in long-term interest rates, and 2013 growing conditions," he says. "Other factors include: lack of stable alternative investments, large amount of cash on hand, and limited amount of land on market."

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