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Study analyzes land ownership by location

Land Sales: Auction reports around Kansas show prices reaching $4,500 per acre for cropland.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

March 2, 2023

3 Min Read
aerial view of farmland
LAND OWNERSHIP: A study out of Kansas State University analyzed land ownership found that 84.5% of the agricultural acres in the state are owned by individuals or entities located in the state. This is something farm families may want to track as they consider their upcoming land transition plans. Recent land sales in the state report cropland selling for upward of $4,500 per acre.Alex Potemkin/Getty images

Experts expect nearly 40% of American agricultural land will transition ownership in the next 15 years. As Kansas farmers retire and land is either sold or inherited by farming or non-farming heirs, the makeup and location of the new owners of that land has been changing over time, reports Kansas State University agricultural economist Robin Reid.

Reid worked with the Kansas Property Valuation Division of the Department of Revenue to analyze agricultural land ownership by location. The researchers used data from 2015, the last most complete year of data available. The results, reported in January, show that 84.5% of acres in the study are owned by individuals or entities residing in Kansas. Of those, 54.6% live in the same county as their parcel.

The remaining 15.5% of acres were owned by individuals or entities residing outside of Kansas; Texas tops the list at just over 1.2 million Kansas agricultural land acres owned by Texans. Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri — states bordering Kansas — own the next-largest portions of Kansas ag land. California individuals and entities follow, with just under 450,000 acres.

Reid’s team offered a county-by-county analysis of land ownership in its report.

Cheyenne County. About 480 acres of Cheyenne County land was sold at auction Feb. 21. The land, sold in three tracts, included both crop and Conservation Reserve Program acres. Tract 1, 160 acres of nearly level dryland in growing wheat, sold for $3,100 per acre. Tract 2, a gently rolling quarter-section that was open cropland with a corn, grain sorghum, and wheat base, sold for $3,100 per acre. Tract 3 included 121 acres of clean wheat stubble and 37.5 acres of CRP wildlife habitat. It sold for $2,800 per acre. The land had a history of progressive management, according to the auction company. The seller was Rex Bressler Family Holdings LLC. Farm & Ranch Realty Inc., Colby, Kan., handled the sale.

Norton County. About 238 acres of high-quality irrigated cropland in the Prairie Dog Valley of Norton County was sold at auction Feb. 3. The property sold in two tracts, both near Almena, Kan. Tract 1, 160 acres primarily of cropland with some grassland, included one irrigation well permitted under Water Right File No. 19106, and a pasture with an electric well and stock tank. It sold for $4,500 per acre. Tract 2, 78 acres of cropland, included a domestic well with no pump, and it sold for $4,100 per acre. The sellers were Clarence and Bette Tien. Farm & Ranch Realty Inc., Colby, handled the sale.

Wichita County. A Jan. 31 auction in Wichita County sold 160 acres of irrigated cropland, mineral rights and royalty production. The auction sold in three tracts. Tract 1, which was for surface rights only, was 160 acres of irrigated and dryland cropland along a county road. It included one irrigation well, was permitted for 320 acre-feet at 850 gallons per minute and which was commingled with adjoining water rights and in the proposed Wichita County LEMA (local enhanced management area). It sold for $4,500 per acre. Tract 2, which was for 50% interest in mineral rights and production in and under the parcel in Tract 1, sold for $155,000. Tract 3, which was for 50% interest inmineral rights under the parcel in Tract 1, sold for $13,000. The seller was the Walker family. Farm & Ranch Realty Inc., Colby, handled the sale.

Lincoln County, Colo. About 8,400 acres of Lincoln County, Colo., farmland was sold in six tracts at auction Feb. 17. This large dryland acreage offering of farmland and grassland had been enrolled in CRP for many years, and only recently had the owners started breaking out and cultivating the expired acres, according to the auction company. The tracts ranged in size from 335 acres to 2,300 acres, and they sold for a low of $375 per acre to a high of $450 per acre. The seller was the John Knoss Farm. Farm & Ranch Realty Inc., Colby, handled the sale.

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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