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Resiliency the key word for Kansas ag land markets

Commodity markets, interest rates and inflation are motivating buyers and sellers in 2024.

Jennifer M. Latzke

January 30, 2024

4 Min Read
pivot irrigation in field
LAND SALES: Kansas ag land buyers and sellers continue to watch commodity prices, interest rates and inflation.Randomphotog/Getty Images

According to the January 2024 land values report released Jan. 10 by Farmers National Co., the ag land market is “resilient” at the start of the new year.

Paul Schadegg, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National Co., says the sharp increase in land values in 2023 was driven by strong commodity markets. That may have slowed, but the land values have been maintained if you look at sales results in the last half of 2023.

In short, buyer demand has continued to be strong for quality cropland in the Midwest, and yet the supply of land for sale continues to be limited.

Other items to note from the report include:

  • Eighty percent of buyers continue to be local farmer-operators.

  • Available cash has limited how aggressive buyers are bidding at land sales. Schadegg attributes that to operators’ narrowing equity positions and an uptick in lending.

  • Interest expense will cut into net farm income in 2024 for farmers.

  • With the current appreciated value of land, some landowners are deciding to retain ownership, further reducing available properties for sale in 2024.

“Overall, we continued to see real estate prices flattening across Kansas, western Missouri, eastern Colorado and south-central Nebraska,” says Steve Morgan, Farmers National Co. area sales manager for the south-central region. “High-quality crop land was still selling for a premium, and our simulcast, live and online auctions continued to be very successful.”

In northwest Kansas, pasture sales have been strong because of higher cattle prices, but rising interest rates and an easing of profitability could slow the market’s growth.

land values map

A sampling of sales around the state shows these trends. Here are some recent sales:

Gove County. A little more than 5,565 acres of irrigated, dryland and grassland in Gove County, including current royalty production, was auctioned off in eight tracts Nov. 14. The contiguous tracts, located on the Gove-Trego county line, were nicely maintained.

The irrigated ground had good water and equipment, with newer electric motors and panels. The grassland was in very good condition with good fencing and water. And with the Smoky Hill River running through the middle of the property, it also provided ample wildlife habitat for the interested buyer.

Tract 1 was 192 acres of dryland, with 121 acres of grass or creek bed, and sold for $1,750 per acre. Tract 2 was 243 acres of dryland, with about 71 acres of grass or creek bed, and it sold for $1,550 per acre. Tract 3 was 131 acres of dryland with about 30 acres of grass, and it also sold for $1,550 per acre.

Tract 4A was 95 acres of irrigated ground, with a six-tower Reinke pivot and an eight-tower Valley pivot, permitted for 250 acre-feet at 1,330 gallons per minute, and sold for $1,350 per acre. Tract 4B was 830 acres of dryland, and it sold for $1,050 per acre. And Tract 4C was 1,536 acres of grass and creek bed ground, and it sold for $1,500 per acre.

Tract 5, with 231 acres of irrigated ground and 54 acres of dryland, included a 14-tower Reinke pivot, permitted for 252 acre-feet at 1,170 GPM. It sold for $2,750 per acre.

Tract 6 was 350 acres, including 220 acres of irrigated ground, 40 acres of dryland and the remainder in grass. It included a 10-tower Reinke pivot permitted for 451 acre-feet at 1,330 GPM, and it was planted to alfalfa. It sold for $2,900 per acre.

Tract 7 was a 900-acre parcel of mostly grassland with 112 acres of Conservation Reserve Program land and 22 acres of dryland crop ground. It sold for $900 per acre.

Tract 8 was a 660-acre block that included 405 acres of irrigated ground, 100 acres of dryland and the remaining acres in grass and creek bed. It also included an eight-tower Reinke pivot, and a 20-tower Reinke pivot, permitted for 350 acre-feet and 650 acre-feet, respectively. It sold for $2,900 per acre. The sellers were Don Albin Farms LLC and the Doug and Mary Albin Revocable Trust. Farm & Ranch Realty, Inc., Colby, Kan., handled the sale.

Chautauqua County. An 80-acre Flint Hills pasture, just 9 miles north of Cedar Vale, Kan., was sold at auction Nov. 8. The parcel was premium grazing land, but it’s accessible location and two ponds also made it an attractive homestead build site. It sold for $2,360 per acre. The James E Waller Revocable Trust was the seller. The online sale was handled by Farmers National Co.

To include a land auction or land sale in this monthly report, please email [email protected], or call 620-253-5497.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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