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October 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.

Survey Finds Limited Interest In Land Purchases By Farmers

Oct 13, 2009

Mike Walsten

A recent survey conducted by the private lender Rabobank found nine in ten farmers (88%) plan to keep the size of their farm the same for next year. That figure is virtually unchanged from last winter (90%) when the survey was conducted previously. The survey did find a slight increase in the number of farmers who plan to sell land -- 5% in the current survey versus 2% in the previous survey. The number who said they plan to buy additional land remained unchanged from the previous survey at 6%.

These survey findings tend to support what we've seen in the land market this year. It can be very difficult to find willing buyers if the quality of the land offered for sale is not up to par or there is some other problem with the property. However, if the quality is top notch and/or it is the farm right next door, then the willingness to buy seems to re-appear.

The survey also found about 40% of those surveyed believe their income will be worse next year, when compared with previous surveys. However, 27% of respondents have some optimism that their income will improve. Additionally 66% of those surveyed said they had no plans to purchase farm equipment. However, farms in operation 40 years or longer are planning to buy equipment compared to newer farms, the survey found.
Click here for a copy of the survey results.

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


Quality Eastern Corn Belt Farmland Finds Strong Buyers

Oct 09, 2009

Mike Walsten

As we've been reporting in recent issues of LandOwner, top quality farmland in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio is drawing strong buying interest and values appear to be holding. Poorer quality ground, however, still struggles. A recent press release from Rex Schrader, president of Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, Columbia City, Ind., supports our contention. Here is the text of his press release:

"September and early October provided a good test for agricultural land prices, and we continued to see the trends that became established in the spring and summer -- strong prices on high-quality ag land with weakness in prices of lower quality land," said Rex Schrader, president of Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company. "The lower commodity prices have had no measurable impact on the prices for the better farms. The supply-demand ratio is continuing to work in the favor of strong land prices," said Schrader.

"On the buy side, we're continuing to see strong crowds and energetic bidding. This, combined with the limited supply of land for sale, seems to be providing support for strong prices," he said. In many cases, farmland that had shot up in price because of location and development potential is reverting to pricing based on its agricultural use. "With little development occurring, and with the demand for country lots drying up, we're seeing less of a premium for land in areas where development is likely," Schrader said.

Here is a rundown on recent results in the three states, along with Schrader's observations on conditions in each state:


  • 487 acres in Montgomery County, $6,740 per acre
  • 380 acres in Madison County, $7,592 per acre
  • 733 acres in Vermilion County, $5,903 per acre
  • 40 acres in Will County for $12,731 per acre

"The market held steady over the past 12 months on all this land except for the drop in prices in Will County for transitional land from potentially $20,000 to $12,731 per acre," said Schrader.


  • 408 acres in Allen County for $5,760 per acre
  • 103 acres in Allen County for $7,515 per acre (with buildings)
  • 106 acres in Wabash County for $5,330 per acre
  • 188 acres in Starke County for $2,383 per acre
  • 126 acres in Lagrange County for $2,484 per acre
  • 71 acres in Wayne County for $3,085 per acre

"The Indiana market held steady over the past 12 months on this land, except for the recreational land (off 10 to 20%) and the low grade soils (off 10 to 20%)," said Schrader.


  • 237 acres in Paulding County for $5,891 per acre
  • 418 acres in Hancock County for $3,888 per acre
  • 116 acres in Paulding County for $3,715 per acre
  • 97 acres in Darke County for $3,670 per acre

"In Ohio, the market held steady  over the past 12 months on this land except for the lower grade soils that were offered, which may be off by some 10 percent," said Schrader.

I talk about what's happening in northwestern Iowa in the most current issue of my newsletter, LandOwner. If interested in seeing a copy, just drop me an email at or call 800-772-0023.


Canadian Farmland Values Rise 3% First Half 2009

Oct 05, 2009

Mike Walsten

Bucking the trend in U.S. farmland values, Canada's largest lender to farmers and agribusiness says farmland values rose 2.9% during the first six months of 2009. That estimate, released by Farm Credit Canada (FCC), is based on the firm's semi-annual appraisal of its 245 benchmark farm properties. Those properties were first selected in 1985 and have been appraised in January and July each year since 1990. The benchmark properties are zoned for agriculture and represent current land use, FCC says. Weighting is assigned to each property and to each province, based on the improved farmland area recorded by the 1996 Census of Agriculture.

FCC says the 2.9% increase recorded for the first half of 2009 follows increases of 5.6% and 5.8% posted in the two previous reporting periods. Farmland values increased in most provinces with only British Columbia (-0.7%) and Prince Edward Island (-1.4%) showing declines.

New Brunswick showed the highest percentage increase at 5.6% followed by a gain of 5.5% reported by Manitoba. The gain in New Brunswick was the second highest since 1999, when farmland values rose 11.6%. FCC said the province registered a rise of 6.3% during the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2008.

Manitoba's 5.5% gain follows increases of 4.2% and 6.2% the two previous reporting periods. On average, Manitoba's farmland values rose almost 1% per month over the 18-month period. It is the only province to experience this trend, FCC states.

Quebec reported a gain of 4.3% in the first half of 2009. This is the third consecutive semi-annual increase and follows increases of 5.9% and 5.5% in the two previous reporting periods. Nova Scotia reported an increase of 4.2% during the first six months of 2009 -- also the third consecutive semi-annual increase. Increases of 4.3% and 5.2% were noted in the two previous reporting periods.

Ontario listed a rise of 2.8% in the first half of 2009. This follows increases of 1.9% and 4.6% reported in the two previous reporting periods. Alberta indicated farmland values rose 1% in the first six months of 2009. This was also the third consecutive semi-annula increase, following increases of 2.2% and 6.7% in the two previous reporting periods.

You can read the complete FCC by clicking here.

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


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