Nebraska Farmland Posts 25% Annual Gain

Published on: 10:00AM Mar 25, 2013

Mike Walsten

The value of Nebraska farmland rose 25% over the 12-month period ending February 1, according to preliminary data from the 2013 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Developments Survey. "Following on the advances for each of the previous two years of 22% and 32%, respectively, the 2013 all-land value of $3,040 per acre is more than double the value of just three years previously, in early 2010," states survey coordinator Bruce Johnson. "Few would disagree that this period has clearly been a land boom."

While the percentage gains were reported across the state for all land classes, the gains were highly variable. Dryland cropland values, for instance, saw gains of less than 10% in the northwest and north districts while the south and southeast districts saw increases of 30% and 38%, respectively.

"Our 2013 survey reporters frequently commented that current land prices being paid seem overly-optimistic," states Johnson. "In turn, when asked what they expected land value movements to be for the remainder of 2013, as well as out three to five years, the vast majority saw a market which had topped out with little, if any upward movement in the near future. In fact, a sizable number of reporters thought values could weaken somewhat in the next few years."

The survey also found gains in cash rental rates with those increases reflecting the dramatic impact of the 2012 drought. Preliminary estimates for dryland cropland cash rents in eastern Nebraska averaged about 8% above a year ago, while rates in the rest of the state rose 5% or less. Cash rental rates for center-pivot irrigated cropland rose 13% to 15% compared to a year earlier.

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