Rumblings are still being heard across the Midwest regarding that sale of 77.5 acres near Champaign, Ill., for $12,900 an acre. As I mentioned last week, (see story here) the land involved was some of the best of the best with a soil Productivity Index of 143.3 (147 being maximum). A few wondered if there was any potential "path of progress" in the mix since the farm in question was relatively close to Champaign. But the answer is "no," there is still plenty of open farmland between the farm in question and the western edge of Champaign. We're told the investor/buyers are an area couple who have quite a few holdings in eastern-central Illinois and are active players in the local market.
The May 26 auction was selected to avoid conflicts with planting corn and soybeans, says Brent Bidner, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., Monticello, Ill., who handled the auction. But with the wet spring and delayed planting in the area, the conflict with planting was still a potential. "Then we got 2. 7 inches of rain the day before and we had 250 to 300 attend the auction," he tells us. The auction was very competitive, he tells us, with several bidders involved. "We had one fellow who came in and told us 'If you want to start the bidding at $10,000, you can pin in on me. I'm not afraid to own it at $10,000,'" Bidner told us. The bidding started at $8,000 asking for $9,000 and away it went. "When the auction was finished, the contending bidder (neighboring landowner) shook hands with the winning bidder," Bidner says.
Look at the other two farms that sold at that auction-- $11,700 an acre and $11,300 an acre. Both located farm enough away not to have anyone thinking "path of progress." Their PIs were just a little lighter at 140 and 140.4. Buyers were local farmers/investors. The prices confirm the strength of demand for top-quality farmland.
By the way, the Champaign farm had a cash rent of $300 on it, negotiated early last fall before the explosion in corn prices, we are told.
Also, here are a couple of stories we found interesting. They have nothing to do with the above auction.
The first is about the land grab in China -- basically, if you have farmland that developers want, you're out of luck. Check here for that story carried in The Hindu. We know some people have been abused through eminent domain proceedings, but at least we have that right in the U.S.
The second is a horror story about an oral lease (and attorney errors) gone bad in Indiana. Click here for that story carried in the South Bend Tribune.
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