Nebraska Farmland Values Soar 31%

Published on: 10:59AM Mar 09, 2012

Mike Walsten

The value of Nebraska farmland rocketed 31% higher in 2011, according to preliminary survey results conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The survey pegged the state's all-land average value as of February 1, 2012 at $2,410 an acre, the largest annual gain, both in dollar terms and percentage, is the largest ever recorded in the 34-year history of the UNL land market survey series.

Cropland, in particular, showed pronounced value gain in every region of the state, reports Bruce John, UNL ag economist who conducts the survey. In several areas of the state, values for some of the cropland classes rose 35% or more during the 12-month period. "Clearly, a booming cash-grain economy in 2011 translated into spirited bidding for cropland," Johnson states.
"And at the same time that demand was robust, the amount of land for sale in any given local area was generally minimal. UNL survey reporters frequently commented that the land transfer market has ben "so thin" that it is difficult to get a good reading on the market. In short, there are many 'wannabe buyers' and few 'wannabe sellers.'"

The grazing land classes showed more modest value gains for the year, he notes, but overall the state still showed a 19% increase for non-tillable grazing land. Tillable grazing land class recorded significantly higher values and percentage gains.

The survey found the value of center-pivot irrigated land (pivot value not included) ranged from $2,600 per acre in the northwest district to nearly $8,000 an acre in the east district with the highest quality irrigated farmland exceeding $10,000 per acre. Dryland cropland values show an even greater spread of more than seven-fold from west to east, Johnson observes.

The survey pegs the average value of an acre of farmland ranged from $642 an acre in the northwest district to $6,044 an acre in the east district.


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