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Land Prices Show Signs of Leveling Off

Rising prices for crop production farmland have been a hot news topic for the last few years.  The latest data compiled by our appraisal team suggest the market could be leveling off or in some cases softening.

Every six months we update the values of 65 farms that we’ve been tracking in a benchmark study for 30+ years.  We also analyze real estate transactions, including auctions and private sales. 

In our latest benchmark update, land prices for 21 farms in Iowa were down an average of 2.8 percent in the second half of 2013.  This was the first decline measured in four years.  For 19 benchmark farms in Nebraska, value increases slowed to just 0.7 percent, their lowest levels in many years.

1-2014 Benchmark land values table

While the number of auctions in Iowa and Nebraska was down 30 percent in 2013, they’re still well-attended, and most ground is being purchased by local farmers.

As chief risk officer, the thing I watch most closely is the quality of credit that’s being written to finance land purchases. Since 2008 we’ve been using a risk management strategy that has served our cooperative and our customer-owners very effectively. By lending based on the long-term sustainable value of land, which assumes $4.50 corn versus $7 or more, we’ve seen farmers maintain strong balance sheets and working capital while they’ve put a significant amount of equity into land purchases. Our data suggest customers are positioned to weather a moderate downturn in land prices.


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May 22, 2014 | The Business of Agriculture

High Degree of Variability in Farmland Market

Farmland prices across our four states are in various stages of flux. Learn what the numbers revealed in the first four months of 2014.

Jul 17, 2014 | The Business of Agriculture

Farmland Prices Remain Strong

Despite reports earlier this year of a possible drop in demand for farmland, prices remain strong, nearing or hitting all-time highs in several areas of our four-state territory during the first six months of 2014.

Jan 20, 2016 | The Business of Agriculture

Changes in Cropland Values -- Mixed

The significant decline in farmland prices anticipated by some forecasters since the peak in commodity prices in 2013 has not fully developed, though the impact of lower profit margins is reflected in adjustments to the market for both cropland values and cash rental rates.

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FCSAmerica serves farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. For inquiries outside this geography, use the Farm Credit Association Locator  to contact your local office.