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Farmland Sale: High-Quality Eastern Illinois Land Brings $10,200 an Acre

Eastern Illinois land sale is ‘the most consistent quality I’ve sold’: auctioneer.

The heirs of Edith O’Banion had a big day on Jan. 11.

That’s the day Mrs. O’Banion’s grandchildren sold the family farm that Edith and her husband had built two generations ago.

For sale were six tracts totaling 607 acres of some of the finest farmland in the Corn Belt, with properties in the eastern Illinois counties of Vermilion, Champaign, and Douglas.

“It was one of the biggest auctions I’ve ever had, in 54 years as an auctioneer,” says Jim Clingan, owner of Jim Clingan Auction and Realty.

The Clingan Auction Center in St. Joseph, Illinois, was abuzz with between 250 and 300 folks in attendance.

“We had a minimum of three to four bidders on each tract and on a couple of more we had a few who didn’t bid but were prepared to buy,” Clingan says. “It was a fast-paced sale. Once we got to the end, there was no more left in the tank.”

The sale lasted less than 45 minutes, Clingan says. A mix of farmers and investors bought the proprty. 

The land was some of the highest quality Clingan had ever sold. The Productivity Index for each tract sold exceeded 137 – and the Illinois CPI is based on a 116 to 147 scale.

“I’ve sold some really good quality farmland, but this was the most consistent quality I’ve sold. They just bought good-quality land, and that was before farmers thought about Productivity Index. They looked at soil types,” he explains. “The people who purchased this land many years ago must have had that in mind.

“It was outstanding. That’s probably why we attracted buyers we had,” Clingan says.

In all, the sale netted $6.2 million – or more than $10,100 per acre. It was better than he expected.

The land is under a 50/50 cropshare lease for 2019. Clingan was afraid that might ding the sale price, but the lease had minimal impact, he thinks.

Nor did real estate taxes, which range from $35.85 to $51.09 per acre.

Here’s the information on each tract:

  • Tract 1: 102 acres north of Fithian in Vermillion County, the tract is level with mostly Drummer and Brenton silt loam soils with a Crop Productivity Index of 141.2 (based on a 116 to 147 scale). It sold to a farmer for $1.122 million ($11,000 per acre).
  • Tract 2: 80 acres north of Fithian, this tract has mostly Drummer and Brenton silt loam soils, is nearly level and has a CPI of 138.7. It sold to a farmer for $808,000 ($10,100 per acre).
  • Tract 3: 45.18 acres just north of Fithian, features mostly Raub silt loam soils and a CPI of 137.4. It sold to a retired farmer for $451,800 ($10,000 per acre).
  • Tract 4: 48.32 acres just north of Fithian, has mostly Drummer and Raub soils, and a CPI of 137.3. About 9.57 acres of this is creek and timber. It sold to a farmer for $442,128 ($9,150 per acre).
  • Tract 5: 114.96 acres 1 mile south of St. Joseph in Champaign County, has most level Flanagan and Drummer silt loam soils and a CPI of 143.9. It sold to an investor for $1.385 million ($12,050 per acre).
  • Tract 6: 216 acres 9.5 miles south of Camargo in Douglas County, has mainly Drummer-Milton silt loam and Brenton soils that are mostly level. The tract has a couple of draws in it. It sold to an investor for $1.922 million ($8,900 per acre).
Tract Acres Total Per Acre
1 102 $1.22 million


2 80 $808,000 $10,100
3 45.18 $451,800 $10,000
4 48.32 442,128 $9,150
5 114.96 $1.385 million $12,050
6 216 $1.922 million $8,900

In all, the sale netted roughly $6.2 million, or about $10,200 per acre.

According to the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, land in this area has held its value, and cash rental rates for 2019 will range from $290 to $305 per acre.

Best of the Rest:

Iowa, Cerro Gordo County: Three tracts north of Dougherty (northern Iowa) totaling 320 acres sold Jan. 12. Tract 1, 77 acres, has 76.8 acres tillable with Kenyon and Floyd soils, with a Corn Suitability Rating 2 of 79.2. It sold for $523,600 ($6,800 per acre). Tract 2, 93 acres, has mostly Floyd and Saude soils, with a 72.8 CSR 2. This tract has a homestead, with 2013-built ranch home, Quonset, 5 good grain bins and dryer. This tract sold for $697,500 ($7,500 per acre). Tract 3, 150 acres, has 146.7 crop acres with the rest in waste. Soil types include Floyd and Clyde. It sold for $1.23 million ($8,200 per acre). Behr Auction had the sale.

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