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The Weekly Dirt on Iowa Land Auction Prices – April 22-29, 2016

May 2, 2016 - Peoples Company

Greetings! Land auctions in Iowa were down from last week. There were a total of 494 acres offered at auction. Of those acres, there were 196 tillable. I would describe last week’s auctions results as “fairly stable."

Some of the highlights:

  • A 280-acre pasture/crop farm that was divided into five tracts sold in Davis County. The pasture tracts sold at $2,800/acre, $2,800/acre, $1,950/acre and $2,800/acre with the cropland selling for $3,750/acre. 
  • A 104-acre farm in the Missouri River Bottom in Fremont County sold for $6,325/acre. 

There were two true “no sales” with one farm being in Decatur County and the other in Winnebago County. 

The number of land auctions are down considerably all across Iowa for the next 30 days. There is very limited amount of tillable land for sale and is keeping the land market up despite low grain prices. It is still my opinion if anyone is thinking of selling farmland, the sooner you bring it to the market the better. 

With the low amount of land being auctioned in the next month, I am going to take the opportunity to talk about trends we are seeing in agriculture. Farmland ownership is something I think needs to be discussed. The 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey results, recently released by the USDA National Agricultural Statics Service (NASS), indicate agricultural producers rent and/or farm 353.8 million acres of farmland. 

Of those acres, 80 percent are by non-farming landlords. Rented farmland acres and buildings are valued at more than $1.1 trillion, while all landlords combined received $31.2 billion in rental income. The survey also found that more than 90 percent of the land counted is slated for ownership transfer in the next five years.

That does not include farmland that is in or is expected to be put into wills. Landlords expect to keep or put nearly 48 percent acres in trusts. Only 21 million acres are expected to be sold to a non-relative, while 26 million acres are expected to be sold to a relative or given as a gift, leaving a small amount for new farmers.  While farmland has always been a valuable resource, this recent survey indicates the emergence of farmland as a future investment. More families are creating trust ownerships to make sure land remains in their family for farming or as an investment. 

According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the average age of landlords is 66.5 years old; higher than the average farmer age, who is 58.3 years old. Only 18 percent of all principal landlords are under 55 years old, and nearly 45 percent of all principal landlords have never farmed. 

Please check back next week to see what I will be discussing. Please check out our March auction results, which we recently posted. Finally, please make sure to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest sale results and industry news.

Talk to you soon! 


Jim Rothermich, The Land Talker
Certified General Appraiser
Peoples Company Appraisal Team

Published in: Land Values