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December 2011 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.

Broker: "Iowa Farmland May Not Be as Steep as You Think"

Dec 21, 2011

Mike Walsten

Here's an interesting take on the current state of "high" farmland values in Iowa. It's from John Kirkpatrick who heads up the Clarion office for Murray Wise Associates, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois. He believes the media reports of $18,000 and $20,000-per-acre farmland auctions in northwest Iowa has some people thinking it may be too late to get a good deal on a farm.

"Right now, you can find productive Iowa farmland for far less than the prices that have been making the headlines, but investors are getting spooked by the very highest prices they're hearing," says Kirkpatrick. "The irony is that the attention given to the outliers on the top end of the market can cause investors to hesitate, reducing an important source of demand. And that could slow the growth in farmland prices in the near term. In fact, we're already seeing that happen as some investors grow hesitant," said Kirkpatrick,

The truth is that farmland values in the state averaged $6,708 per acre in an annual study released Dec. 14 by Iowa State University, he points out.  "To be sure, that's a record high when adjusted for inflation, but it's a far cry from the extreme prices that many people are focused on," said Kirkpatrick. "Right now, if you look beyond the hottest counties in the northwest part of the state, you can find quality land for less than $9,000."

Local farmers and investors continue to be strong buyers, both in auctions and in private treaty sales, according to Kirkpatrick. "While we are better known for our auctions, we also put a lot of emphasis on private treaty sales, especially for farmers who wish to sell to and investor, then lease the land back and continue to work it," he says.

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

Iowa Land Values Explode 32.5%

Dec 19, 2011

Mike Walsten

The value of Iowa farmland jumped 32.5% in 2011, according to the Iowa State University annual land values survey. The survey pegged the average value of an acre of Iowa farmland at a record $6,708 per acre. The highest percentage increase was 37.7% posted by Scott County with an average value of $9,223 per acre. The highest average county value was reported in O'Brien County at $9,512 per acre. The northwest crop reporting district, of which O'Brien County is a part, reported the highest average land value at $8,338 per acre.

I will have more details in the next issue of my newsletter. If interested in seeing a copy of LandOwner, just drop me an email at or call 800-772-0023.


Cropland in Northern Plains, Minnesota Up 26%

Dec 08, 2011

Mike Walsten

The value of cropland in the Northern Plains and Minnesota rose 26% for the year ending September 30, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The bank indicates the value of non-irrigated cropland in the district grew by that amount on an annual basis while the value of irrigated cropland rose 18% and the value of ranch/pasture land increased 14%. The bank survey also indicates the value of non-irrigated cropland rose 8% during the third quarter compared to the previous quarter while the value of irrigated cropland gained 5.5% versus the second quarter and ranchland rose 3% versus the prior quarter. South Dakota saw the biggest increases in non-irrigated land values, at nearly 30 percent, while Montana’s were the most modest at just under 11 percent.

The bank survey also said cash rents rose 24% on an annual basis across the district.

Click here for the full report.

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

$20,000 an Acre!!!! Yep, Northwest Iowa Again

Dec 07, 2011

Mike Walsten

A record $20,000 an acre was paid today for northwest Iowa farmland breaking the previous record of $16,750 an acre posted October 4. The farm involved featured 74 total acres (6 acres were pulled out of the 80-acre farm for a ditch and easement held by a neighboring farmer). There were 71 tillable acres. The soils pulled a Corn Suitability Rating of 70 compared to the county average CSR of 64.8.

The farm is located two miles north and one east of Hull, not far from the 120 acres just a mile northwest of Hull which pulled the eye-blinking $16,750 an acre back on October. 4. Now that's old news -- by $3,250!

Pete Pollema of Pollema Auction & Real Estate, Hull, handled the auction. Both the buyer and the prime contending bidder are area farmers. Bidding started at $15,500 an acre and took an hour, Pollema says.

And before you ask the question... No, it doesn't cash flow. That's not the point in that area.

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

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