Values for farmland rated "good" declined 1% from Jan. 1 to April 1 in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago district. Year-over-year, values rose barely 1%. State numbers differed. Compared to the fourth quarter, farmland values declined 4% in Illinois and Indiana, and they fell 3% in Michigan. Values increased 1% in Iowa and Wisconsin. Year-over-year, Iowa values dropped 2%, Michigan values dropped 1%, Illinois saw no change, Wisconsin values grew 2% and Indiana values experienced a 7% increase.
Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City show a sharp divide in land values between states dependent on crops versus livestock, reversing a trend in recent years. Year-over-year data show ranchland values rose 8.6%, almost double the increase for non-irrigated farmland.
One surprise: Land rents are already headed lower, the Chicago Fed survey shows, despite a lag many had predicted. Cash rents district-wide posted a 2% decline for 2014 relative to 2013, the first average decrease since 1999 and the largest decrease since 1987.
Illinois registered the largest rent decrease at 4%; Iowa rents fell 3%; and Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin rents saw a 1% decline. Adjusting for inflation, cash rental rates decreased about 4%–only the second negative result in the past decade using this measure.