Wallaces Farmer

How long will high farmland prices last?

Land Values: Prices three years ago for farmland were much different. Trade pacts, higher commodity prices have affected prices, which likely won't change.

Doug Hensley

December 13, 2022

3 Min Read
Farmland
FARMLAND: Iowa farmland prices have increased dramatically in the past three years, and those levels are expected to stay.Jennifer Carrico

Every time I turn the calendar to a new year, I think to myself, “How’d that happen so quickly?” You probably feel the same. As I’ve been reflecting on the past year, I’m finding there are parallels in that question for many things in our life, including where we find the current Iowa farmland market. Over the past couple years, the market has changed quickly.

Think back to January 2020, just after the new NAFTA and the China trade deal were put together. Before COVID-19. Before two contentious elections. Before corn was $5, $6, or $7 per bushel. As the calendar turned to 2020, quality Iowa farmland could fetch $10,000 per acre, but it was pretty rare to see a sale at or above $12,000-plus per acre. In fact, it was common to see good land bring $7,000 or $9,000 per acre across much of the northern half of Iowa. How did the farmland market manage to shift so quickly?

Lots of factors played into both the positive direction, and the velocity behind the change, in the land market in Iowa and across the Midwest. Global grain demand pushed commodity prices to new higher levels. Low interest rates have supported asset values. Political instability worldwide kept U.S. agriculture in an important production position. And inflation in our general economy resurfaced in a major way, which has historically correlated positively for land values.

Can the strength in land values continue? Recent sale results indicate so. However, stay tuned throughout 2023. If the factors that drove prices higher begin to shift, it is probable the market will continue to change.

NORTHWEST
Buena Vista County. About 138 acres east of Alta recently sold at public auction for $19,000 per acre. The farm consisted of about 134 tillable acres with a CSR2 (corn suitability rating) of 95.0, and equaled $206 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

NORTH CENTRAL
Franklin County. About 76 acres near Hampton recently sold at public auction for $7,600 per acre. The farm consisted of about 71 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 62.5, and equaled $130 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

NORTHEAST
Delaware County. About 112 acres southwest of Manchester recently sold for $19,600 per acre. The farm consisted of about 111 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 88.0, and equaled $224 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

WEST CENTRAL
Sac County. About 111 acres east of Carnarvon recently sold at public auction for $17,100 per acre. The farm consisted of about 105 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 88.6, and equaled $204 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

CENTRAL
Jasper County. About 156 acres northwest of Monroe recently sold at public auction for $17,200 per acre. The farm consisted of about 156 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 88.3, and equaled $195 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

EAST CENTRAL
Muscatine County. About 104 west of Fruitland recently sold at public auction for $11,600 per acre. The farm consisted of about 100 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 81.1, and equaled $149 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

SOUTHWEST
Pottawattamie County. About 120 acres northwest of Neola recently sold via a one-chance sealed-bid sale for $12,875 per acre. The farm consisted of about 117 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 55.5, and equaled $237 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

SOUTH CENTRAL
Appanoose County. About 80 acres northeast of Seymour recently sold at public auction for $7,450 per acre. The farm consisted of about 70 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 48.4, and equaled $175 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres.

SOUTHEAST
Keokuk County. About 72 acres east of What Cheer recently sold at public auction for $9,950 per acre. The farm consisted of about 57 tillable acres with a CSR2 of 79.5, and equaled $158 per CSR2 point on the tillable acres. The balance of the farm was in wooded draws and Conservation Reserve Program land.

Hertz Real Estate Services compiled this list, but not all sales were handled by Hertz. Call Hertz at 515-382-1500 or 800-593-5263, or visit hertz.ag.

About the Author(s)

Doug Hensley

president, Hertz Real Estate Services

Hensley is president of Hertz Real Estate Services. The Hertz Farm Management Co. was started in 1946, and now provides a full spectrum of services that includes professional farm management, real estate sales, auctions, acquisitions and farm appraisals.

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