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February 2009 Archive for Your Precious Land

RSS By: Mike Walsten, Pro Farmer

Mike Walsten has covered major business trends in agriculture for more than 40 years.

Bank Surveys Detail Weakness In Land Values

Feb 24, 2009
Mike Walsten


Three surveys recently released by the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis put numbers on the weakness in land values seen the last three months of 2008. While prices eased lower during the fourth quarter, all areas reporting noted a rise in land values compared to 2007. But the action seen in the fourth quarter and noted since the turn of the calendar confirm a market that's flattened.

Here are the fourth-quarter figures reported by the banks. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago says values slipped by 4% across its district during the fourth quarter of 2008, but finished 5% higher on an annual basis. The Chicago fed bank serves northern Illinois, northern Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and the southern Wisconsin.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis reports the value of non-irrigated cropland slid 4.4% during the fourth quarter but rose 12.2% when compared to 2007. Irrigated cropland eased 1.1%, finishing 7.8% higher on an annual basis. Ranchland slipped 0.6% during the quarter and closed the year 5.8% higher than a year earlier. The Minneapolis bank serves Minnesota, Montana, the Dakotas and northwestern Wisconsin.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says the value of irrigated cropland eased 2.8% during the fourth quarter, but rose 7.1% for the year. Irrigated cropland slipped 1.1% during the fourth quarter but gained 10.9% for the year. Ranchland declined 1.7% in the fourth quarter but closed 2008 5.6% higher when compared to 2007. The Kansas City bank serves Colorado, Kansas, northwest Missouri, Nebraska, northern New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

I cover these surveys in more detail, including individual state data, in LandOwner. If interested in a sample copy, just drop me an email at or call me at 800-772-0023.


Co-ops Formed To Negotiate Wind Farm Contracts

Feb 24, 2009
Mike Walsten

 A recent story in The New York Times describes a unique approach to working with wind farm developers. The item describes how ranchers in southeastern Wyoming have bundled their wind rights together into co-ops in order to bargain as a signle unit with potential developers. The co-op means all participants have equal footing in the negotiations and protects individuals from selling their wind rights at below market rates.

Eight wind co-ops have been formed and three more are in the formation process, the story, written by Felicity Barringer, indicates. It also states similar associations have been formed in Colorado, Montana and New Mexico.

The co-ops allow participation by landowners whose land may not be involved in the wind farm, but will be affected if a host of wind turbines are built nearby. This assures "that everybody will have some income whether they have a turbine placed on their property or not," a co-op leader is quoted as saying. While each association is unique, the story indicates that one of the co-ops will pay out 55% of total annual wind royalties to landowners who have turbines on their properties. The remiander will be distributed among all co-op members, both those with turbines and those without. Interesting.

Click here to see the story.

If interested in a samply copy of my newsletter LandOwner, just drop me an email at or call me at 800-772-0023.



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