fell in Nebraska, rose in Iowa
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Average prices for high-quality farmland have dropped over the past year in Nebraska but slightly risen in Iowa, according to a farm management company.
Farmers National Co. gathered sale price information about 18 states from land-grant colleges, Farm Credit banks and other industry sources.
An acre of irrigated cropland in Nebraska averaged $9,000 last year, down from $9,500 in 2016 and $10,000 in 2015, according to the company’s report. The average for farmland in Iowa was $10,500 last year, up from $10,100 in 2016 and 2015.
Low commodity prices mean low quality cropland and grassland has been difficult to sell, said Paul Schadegg, a sales manager in Sidney, Nebraska. The average price for high-quality land rose last year in multiple states, including Nebraska and Iowa, according to Farmers National.
Prices are more stable than in previous years, despite a slight dip in prices in many states, said Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National.
“We think this is just kind of a stabilizing time,” Dickhut said. “I’d still say there’s a trend that it will soften more. We don’t think we’re done going down.”
Last year’s stability may be due to a drop in farmland and ranchland properties for sale combined with a steady to slightly increased demand, he said.
It’s unclear if the stability is an indication of a longer-term turnaround, Dickhut said. Factors such as crop yields, interest rates, grain prices, equipment expenses and payments on previous land purchases could all influence prices. The new farm bill as well as changes to U.S. trade policy can also impact land prices, he said.
Average prices have been dropping steadily across the U.S. since 2013 because of lower prices for farm goods.