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Farm Lender Reports Farmland Values Are Steady to Lower

Published on: 22:51PM Jan 22, 2015

Mike Walsten

Farmland values are steady to weaker in the western Corn Belt, according to the latest appraisal update from Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). While cropland values are under pressure due to low commodity prices, gains in the value of pastureland are offsetting some of the decline.

The Omaha-based firm — the largest ag real estate lender in its four-state service region — updates farmland values on 64 benchmark farms every Jan. 1 and July 1. The review is one of the most extensive looks at the value of various types of farms and farmland throughout the western Corn Belt. This year’s report shows the value of Iowa farmland slipped 6.1% during the last six months of 2014 and about 6.9% for the year. FCSAmerica indicates a small increase in the value of Iowa pastureland trimmed the decline in cropland values. The lender says of its 21 Iowa benchmark farms, only one increased in value during the last six months of 2014 while 15 farms decreased in value an average of 8.8%. Five farms showed no change in value for the six-month period. The appraisers found Iowa cropland values dipped 6.4% during the last half of 2014, while the value of Iowa pastureland rose 0.5%.

In Nebraska, the appraisers found values were “steady” the last half of 2014 — down a slim 1.7%. The appraisers say values slipped 0.2% on an annual basis. Five of the state’s 18 benchmark farms increased in value while four showed no change. That leaves nine farms that decreased in value. For the last half of 2014, the value of Nebraska cropland declined 3.3% while the value of pastureland increased 5.1%.

South Dakota farmland values were also “steady” the second half of 2014 — up 2% with cropland slipping 2.5% and pastureland up 6%. Values are up 7.8% on an annual basis. Thirteen of the 23 benchmark farms showed either an increase in value or experienced no change over the past six months.

Wyoming’s two benchmark farms, one grain farm and one ranch, increased 1.1% during the last half of 2014 and rose 6.95% on an annual basis.. Cropland values are unchanged while pastureland is up 2.3%.

The number of public auctions was down 7% in 2014 versus a year earlier, FCSAmerica reports. While Iowa and Nebraska saw a decline in the number of auctions, auction activity was up in South Dakota.

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