Approximately 8,638 acres of western Illinois farmland sold as a single unit Monday for $55,311,000. The buyer was Farmland Partners, a Denver-based Real Estate Investment Trust traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The land, part of the extensive Wilder Farms holdings, was offered in 46 tracts, ranging from 15 acres to 597 acres, but it soon became clear that the most interested parties would be the large investors, according to R.D. Schrader, president of Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, Columbia City, Ind., which handled the auction.
The offering consisted of 4,869 acres near New Boston in Mercer County and more than 3,769 acres west of Havana in Fulton County. The land was mostly river bottom land and with much of the soil listing Productivity Indexes ranging from 114 to 127 per Bulletin 811. The maximum soil PI per Bulletin 811 is 147.
"The operators were in the room, but the investors won out. It was just a question of whether we had one buyer or a few," says Schrader. The auction attracted 64 registered bidders, he notes. "I felt that this would be an interesting test of the market for this type of land, because there had not been an offering on this scale in quite some time. The price per acre of just over $6,400 exceeded the expectations of many of the observers for the predominantly levee-assessed river bottom land," says Schrader.
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