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Iowa farmland average tops $5,000 per acre

The average value of an acre of farmland in Iowa increased 15.9 per cent in 2010, according to an annual survey conducted by Iowa State University Extension. Mike Duffy, ISU Extension economist who conducts the survey, said the statewide average land value as of Nov. 1 this year was $5,064 an acre, up $693 per acre from 2009.

The 2010 survey shows a substantial increase in land values following a drop in 2009. “We need to watch the land values and be prudent, but I don’t think we need to be overly pessimistic there will be a crash in values anytime soon,” said Duffy. “The rate of increase in 2010 appears high, but it is half the yearly increases in 1973, 1974 and 1975.”

Duffy said it is important to remember the time span when evaluating survey results. “This has been especially true the past few years when corn and soybean prices have varied considerably. Monthly prices for corn averaged 37 per cent higher July to November this year compared to average monthly prices from January through June. Soybean prices are 21 per cent higher over the same time span,” Duffy said.

The survey conducted by Duffy is sponsored annually by the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station at Iowa State University. Only the state average and the district averages are based directly on the ISU survey data. The county estimates are derived using a procedure that combines the Iowa State survey results with data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture.

Of the nine crop reporting districts in the state, the Iowa State survey found the highest land values were reported for Northwest Iowa at $6,356 per acre; the lowest land values were reported for South Central Iowa at $2,690 per acre.

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