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Introductions and Land Markets

August 11, 2023 - Boyd Harris

Greetings from Peoples Company Missouri and my first-ever blog article. My name is Boyd Harris, and I am the team leader and Senior Appraiser for Peoples Company in Missouri. One of my business groups, AgriLand Appraisal Group, became part of Peoples Company in March 2023. We are excited to be part of a dynamic company and to grow the footprint and service area for Peoples Company. 

First, a few introductions. As I said, I am the senior team member (aka the “old guy” in an office full of young professionals). I have been a General Certified Appraiser since 1991, focused on agricultural properties and enterprises across Missouri and western Illinois. My career has allowed me to appraise nearly every type of agricultural property in the Midwest, working with grain farms, livestock enterprises, grain elevators, equestrian properties, commercial properties, and several unique and complex enterprises.  

I have had the privilege of training, to certification, nine new appraisers, and currently have three others in the trainee process as we grow the company. Additionally, I spent eight years on the Missouri Appraiser Advisory Council, working to write legislation and rules for the appraisers in Missouri. After that, I was privileged to serve 12 years as a member of the Missouri Real Estate Appraisers Commission. 

The rest of the Missouri team consists of: Jack Neimeyer, Certified General Appraiser, with a background in Fish and Wildlife research and management; Dylan Stidham, Certified Residential Appraiser, and General Trainee, providing complex residential appraisals and focused on rural commercial appraisals; Jake Deters, Business Admin Major, and General Trainee, for ag appraisals; Brett Miller, a Marketing Major and General Certified Trainee providing ag and residential appraisals; Landon Dull, Finance Major and Value Analyst for the team, working on market data research and getting started in appraisal trainee classes; John Durant, Economics Major, and Appraisal Technician, developing market data and ag appraisals. Finally, Sultana Wright, our Appraisal Coordinator, is in the Centralia office. She takes care of appraisal orders, client relations, work file management, and administrative tasks, and keeps track of seven team members going in different directions. She is, obviously, the most critical part of the team. 

The team is primarily located in the Centralia, MO. office, at 1397 East Highway 22, on the east side of town, while Jake and Dylan are in our Wentzville office where we happily just relocated to a great office suite at 14 East Main, in Old Town Wentzville. We are ready to cover all types of agricultural and rural commercial appraisals that you might need. 

As I said, we are growing the presence of Peoples Company services in Missouri. In addition to the appraisal field, I have over 35 years of experience as a real estate broker and auctioneer, and Jake is a licensed sales agent. We can handle your property sale at auction, our favorite way, or by traditional listing. We indeed are a one-stop shop; furthering that concept from Peoples Company as the team offers land management, brokerage, appraisal services, crop insurance, and oil/gas/mineral management services. 

But, enough of the introduction, and now on to what is happening in the land market in Missouri. It has been an incredibly wild ride the last two years, with demand and values that we have never seen before. While the market has stalled a tiny bit here lately, in general, we have seen increases of about one percent per month over the past 24 to 30 months. 

As noted, it seems to have cooled slightly but it is a bit difficult to tell if the market is actually cooling or if it is just a lack of activity. I personally think it is more of that than a cooling. Interest rates and the current drought across the Midwest are having some impact but certainly not like what we would have thought. In May 2023, we sold a pasture/hay farm for $8,650/acre. There have been a number of cropland sales in the $10,000/acre range, with a couple of recent sales at $13,000/acre. Those were the standouts, but they were good farms in an area with very few sales.  

Most of Missouri is reporting similar sales. Northwest Missouri, in the river loess cropland soils, is holding steady with markets in the $8,000 to $10,000/acre range and Northeast Missouri is a similar market as well. The state's western side is seeing unprecedented crop land markets with good farms selling in the $5,500 to $7,000/acre range, with standouts near $8,000/acre. 

Pasture farms are not quite as strong, but demand is good when good pasture farms are offered for sale; the marginal quality/overgrown pastures sell accordingly. Demand is still strong for recreational property, but it can be more subjective depending on just how the property strikes the potential buyer, and waterfowl farms are always in demand. The Bootheel region is also seeing unprecedented sales, with good farms easily in the $7,500 to $9,000/acre range, with very few farms for sale and demand strong. Across the state, the demand is farmer-driven more than exchangers/investors. 

So, what is the takeaway? First, the land market is as strong as it has ever been. While some factors suggest it should be pulling back, so far it has not. If you are considering selling, I think now would be the time to give us a call. This market most likely will change, but there is just no way to tell when. Second, my AgriLand Appraisal Group team is thrilled to be part of Peoples Company. We look forward to working with you on appraisals for lending, estate planning, litigation, or whatever your need is. And, of course, we want to be your Land Professional when it comes time to sell your farm. Peoples Company is your source for all land/agricultural real estate service needs – in Missouri, and across the country.

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