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‘Stable’ and ‘plateau’ buzzwords in land sales

Land Values: Minnesota prices will largely depend on the current lackluster price of corn and the savings of farmers from previous high-earning years.

February 9, 2024

3 Min Read
A large and empty lot of farmland
WAIT FOR DEALS: Current market conditions do not point to farmers being able to find a great deal when it comes to purchasing farmland. Kevin Schulz

by Jared Augustine

It is the natural tendency of Midwesterners to look for a great deal, and that sentiment is certainly true for Minnesota farmers hoping to buy more farmland. Many talks I have with buyers and sellers of land start with the question, “Are prices ever going to come down?” The conversation usually ends with both parties agreeing there’s a good chance they won’t. At least, not by much.

The land price run-up from 2020 to 2022 that was fueled by several profitable farm years and low fixed interest rates was largely mirrored by characteristics of the rest of the worldwide COVID-19 economy: cheap money, big spending, rising inflation and skyrocketing real estate values. The last few years left a lot of us wishing we had bought more assets before 2020, and the rest being sure glad they did.

The 2023 crop year brought a whirlwind of surprises for most farmers in Minnesota. High fertilizer prices, replanting corn and a dry summer were a few of the hot topics last year. Farm profits and yields seemed to be surprisingly good for most farmers I talked to this fall, although there were plenty of stories of a poor crop, due to lack of rain or lighter soil composition.

As we recover from 2023 and reload for the 2024 crop year, land prices will largely depend on the current lackluster price of corn and the savings of farmers from previous high-earning years. Don’t underestimate the saving ability of a Minnesota farmer who grew up poor.

Land sales in 2024 will likely see a continuation of the second half of 2023 — some soft spots depending on the buyer pool in the area, but still plenty of strength in most regions. In recent months, you didn’t have to look too far to hear about a $15,000-per-acre-or-better land sale.

To anyone reading this, I hope you find a great deal on some land this year. I anticipate, however, that “stable” and “plateau” will be the buzzwords for the near future regarding farmland prices. Take a look at some recent sales:

Blue Earth County. Southeast of Eagle Lake, 204 acres sold in three parcels. About 94 acres sold for $13,000 per acre, about 80 acres sold for $10,400 per acre, and about 30 acres sold for $10,200 per acre. The farms consist of 200.86 tillable acres with an average crop productivity index rating of 88.93.

Brown County. Northeast of Sleepy Eye, about 80 acres sold for $16,200 per acre. The farm consists of 78.19 tillable acres with a CPI rating of 94.3.

Dakota County. Northwest of Cannon Falls, about 120 acres sold for $13,400 per acre. The farm consists of 111.93 tillable acres with a CPI rating of 65.4. The farm is irrigated with two pivots and includes a small house and several outbuildings.

Kandiyohi County. South of Kandiyohi, about 67.63 acres sold for $9,555 per acre. The farm consists of 64.6 tillable acres with a CPI rating of 82.5.

Mower County. Southeast of Rose Creek, about 984.41 acres in nine parcels sold for an average of $11,220 per acre. The farms consist of 944.1 tillable acres with an average CPI rating of 85.4. Parcel 2 includes a dooryard with a house built in 1912 and several outbuildings.

Polk County. Southeast of Climax, about 160 acres sold for $5,109 per acre. The farm consists of 153 tillable acres with a CPI rating of 90.2.

Rock County. South of Magnolia, about 160 acres sold for $18,500 per acre. The farm consists of 156.1 tillable acres with a CPI rating of 95.1.

Traverse County. North of Wheaton, about 160 acres sold for $8,500 per acre. The farm consists of 146.32 tillable acres with a CPI rating of 90.7.

Augustine is a Minnesota licensed real estate salesperson for Hertz Farm Management Inc. He lives near Minnesota Lake with his wife and four children and works out of Hertz’s Mankato office. Hertz Farm Management compiled this list but did not handle all sales. Call Hertz in Mankato at 507-345-5263 or 800-730-5263, or visit hertz.ag.

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