Two Auctions Show Healthy Illinois Land Market; 1,600 Acres Brings More than $10.49 Million

Published on: 16:34PM Sep 11, 2009

Mike Walsten

I first wrote about what appeared to be an important market test for the Illinois market on August 13 (click here to see the post). The sale involved 1,600 acres of high-quality farmland located in three tracts. There was 733 acres south of Danville, in Vermillion County; 380 acres on the edge of Granite City in Madison County; and 487 acres near Litchfield in Montgomery County. All three locations featured access to two rail lines, interestate highways and flat, black soils. The three parcels had been assembled by VeraSun Energy Corp., which has since moved into bankruptcy.

The sale, conducted by Schrader Real Estate & Auction Company of Columbia City, Ind., was held Thursday, September 9. The final tally was $10,492,610.

"There was a lot of interest in this sale, not only among those seeking to buy the land, but among those who saw it as a test of the strength we've continued to see in the market for tillable farmland. Even with approximately 1,600 acres selling in one day, the market absorbed it nicely," said company president Rex Schrader.

The sale included:

  • Approximately 487 acres in Litchfield, Ill., in Montgomery County, which sold for $3,282,610, or an average of $6,740 per acre. The land, primarily tillable farmland, sold to five different buyers, with the two largest buyers including a local buyer and an out-of-state investor seeking land for a possible future grain terminal. "There was a great deal of interest in specific tracts as well as various combinations. The rail access made it attractive as a grain terminal site, and that added to the demand," said Schrader.
  • Approximately 380 acres in Madison County, Ill. After active bidding in various combinations, the property sold to a local farm family as an entirety for $2,884,000, an average of $7,591 per acre.
  • Approximately 733 acres in Vermilion County, in eastern Illinois. After bidding in various combinations, the property sold as entirety for $4,326,000, or $5,903 per acre. "This was a buyer who was adding to his family's existing holdings. While there was a great deal of participation among both farmers and investors, institutional interest was diminished a bit because some of the land excluded mineral rights and was adjacent to a nearby Superfund site. There was also a portion of the land where underground mining had been conducted some years back," said Schrader.

The land in Montgomery and Madison counties sold in a morning session in Staunton, Ill. The Vermilion land sold in an evening session near Covington, Ind.

In addition to Thursday's auction, on Wednesday September 9, 198 acres near Danvers (west of Bloomington) in McLean County was auctioned by Soy Capital Ag Services, Bloomington. Tract 1 consisting of 77.6 acres and a Productivity Index of 143 (maximum 147) brought $7,500 an acre. Tract 2, 80 acres and a PI of 133.8 brought $6,800 an acre. Tract 3, consisting of 40 acres and a farmstead with older buildings and a PI of 130.2, brought $6,800 an acre. All three tracts were purchased by local farm families.

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