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January 2012 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.

Contrary to Rumors, That $20,000-an-Acre Sioux County, Iowa, Farmland Sale Closed

Jan 16, 2012

Mike Walsten

A spate of Internet rumors sprung up in the last week concerning that eye-blinking $20,000-an-acre farmland sale in northwest Iowa late last year. Thrust of the rumor -- that it did not close. Contrary to the rumor, it did. Confirmation comes from Pete Pollema of Pollema Auction & Real Estate, Sioux Center, Iowa, who handled the auction. "It closed last week," he told us. "I've got the commission check.

"I don't know where that rumor came from," he continued. "I had several calls in the past few days asking the same question. The buyer had his financing lined up before he came to the sale and there was never a question that the sale would close," he told us.

By the way, here is an interesting story about farmland vales in general and Sioux County farmland in particular. Click here.

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

Anyone Nervous? NBC Shines Spotlight on High Iowa Farmland Prices

Jan 11, 2012

Mike Walsten

The general media is spending more time talking about high farmland prices. Part of it is a result of all the media attention on Iowa due to the recent caucus coupled with the sale last November of 74 acres near Hull, Iowa, that brought $20,000 an acre. (Click here for story.) Result: National media attention. The old market watcher in me says that when the national media finds a market story, the move is nearly over.

I don't know if that's the case here. But this sure makes me nervous.

Here's the most recent example. It's a report on NBC's evening news magazine, Rock Center. The seven-plus minute report is titled "Field$ of Dream$." That name alone gives me pause.

Watch the 7-minute clip. 

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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

Fed Bank Looks into Rising Farmland Values

Jan 03, 2012

Mike Walsten

Here's an in-depth look at past runups in farmland values with comparisons to today worth your reading. The thoughtful analysis is written by Jason Henderson, vice president and Omaha Branch Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. His analysis appears in the bank's The Main Street Economist which you can access here.

He examines the runup in farmland values which occurred at the start of the 20th Century and the surge in the 1970s and the following collapses in values. "History has shown that golden ears fade and that farm corrections devolve into farm busts in highly leveraged environments," he writes. The key, is the current run-up occurring in a highly leveraged environment? Henderson's analysis shows farmers had shown restraint on adding leverage, so far.

He concludes: "While current conditions appear to be following the rhythms of the past, there is at least one distinct difference — capital investments. With rising incomes and low interest rates, farmers are making significant capital expenditures on equipment, machinery, structures and land improvements. Yet, many farmers have not used excessively high levels of debt to finance capital investments. Will checking farm debt and capital spending be enough to keep any correction in agricultural profits from spiraling into a farm bust?"

Only time will tell.

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.

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