The aerial image of the Iowa farm ground looked familiar. It’s family land, but the known boundary can be a little tricky to define. Yet when a user clicked on the parcel, AcreValue accurately selected the whole farm and provided some in-depth knowledge of the potential per-acre value of the land, its cropping history and more.
“Granular has owned AcreValue for four years,” says Landon Frye, director of business development for AcreValue. “We’ve built more and invested in it.” In fact, the company recently introduced two new features for the service: Claim My Land and Custom Boundaries.
“Granular works with farms mostly on business and financial matters. Land is a huge piece of that aspect for farming,” Frye says.
In the four years Granular Inc. has owned the tool, the company has added more than 400,000 registered users to the system. The program was originally built to provide a national database of public and proprietary information that farmers, landowners and investors can use to quickly see the value of land.
The new services build on that network, allowing owners to mark out the boundaries of the land and farms they own or control. “AcreValue is an interactive plat book that can provide land valuation on eight midwestern states,” Frye says. “You can download a four-page report on the tract of land, get the valuation and look at a five-year cropping history for the land.”
Users can identify and get reports on every parcel they control. Frye explains that when AcreValue first got started, it was called the “Zillow of farmland.” But the new features like Claim My Land bring a new dimension. “Investors or other farmers interested in a piece of ground can contact that owner through this system,” he says.
For example, if an investor is interested in a nearby farm, he or she can reach out through this system to connect with whoever controls that land. Consider AcreValue as the “LinkedIn for land.” It becomes a kind of networking tool. Landowners contacted through the system can ignore the information requests (they remain anonymous), or they can respond — and perhaps start a dialogue.
This connection doesn’t mean selling the farm; it could be a farmer seeking to rent some ground nearby, and an absentee owner is involved. With this tool, it becomes easier for both to connect.
The Custom Boundaries tool allows users to map land on a more customized basis. Land transactions don’t always take place along existing property boundaries. This tool allows better management of those spaces and transaction relationships, including renting, buying or selling.
Fees and the service
There are essentially three levels of service for users of AcreValue. The first, which is free, allows you to claim land and draw custom boundaries as needed. You can also pull in three reports each month on other land you may be interested in learning more about.
If you want to download several reports a month, which some land managers may want, there’s an unlimited report subscription for $100 per year.
And there’s a $600-per-state-per-year premium level, which is for the professional land manager. “That allows the user to filter and search all data layers we have in the system, including historical sales,” Frye says. “For example, I might want sales comparisons for Champaign or Vermilion County, Ill., looking at the last three years. I may want to look at land coming up for sale in the $8,000-to-$11,000-per-acre range. This service is more for land professionals, bankers and brokers.”
You can learn more about the system by visiting acrevalue.com. The tool is simple to use, and it allows you to claim your land. To get reports, you will have to register with an email address for contact, but the base service is free.
NOTE: In the original version we listed Landon Frye as Landon Ferry...this has been corrected