This year saw cooling grain prices, but at least one auction company says the farmland market was anything but. Representatives at Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company say they have continued to see large crowds of active bidders throughout 2014.
Prices have fallen off a bit in some areas due to lower commodity prices, according to company president R.D. Schrader. However, he adds the company saw active markets in 2014 in the Midwest, Delta, Southwest and Mountain regions.
"For the year, we averaged more than two farmland auctions a week, successfully selling farms of every conceivable size and quality," he says. "Buyers are more selective, and if interest rates rise in combination with lower commodity prices, that will impact demand. But the market is still there. The agriculture industry remains very strong. It's important in this environment to make sure you're marketing the property effectively, which is always a priority for us."
Schrader says farmland remains an attractive investment, especially when considering some of the alternatives.
“We've seen wild one-day swings in stocks, and interest rates continue at all-time lows,” he says. “Meanwhile, over the last decade, Midwestern farmland has been appreciating at an average rate of more than 10% per year.”
Schrader expects another active farmland auction year for 2015.
"There's still a great deal of demand,” he says. “The marketplace is rewarding quality, and productive land with good soils will continue to do the best.”