Northwest Iowa Land Prices Fairly Steady

Northwest Iowa — Last week we had a story that told about the land values in Iowa and how they were declining. It said that statewide, land values were down about five percent in the last six months.
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We had a chance to talk to a northwest Iowa land value expert — Todd Hatterman from Vander Werff Auction Service — and he says he’s not seeing that kind of decline in northwest Iowa.

He says that at a recent sale that they did, a 160-acre farm with an acreage site brought $14,600 per acre. He says the CSR on this farm was in the mid 70’s, and the CSR2 was in the mid 90’s. “CSR” stands for “Corn Suitability Rating.” “CSR2” is a newer way to rate the suitability of a farm or parcel of land to grow corn. The measurements are roughly analogous to a percentage, according to the Iowa State University Agronomy Department, with a CSR of 100 being the best possible soil in which to grow corn.

For comparison, the highest prices ever paid for farmland in northwest Iowa are around $20,000 per acre. Those prices were for farms sold in 2011 and 2012. Iowa State experts say the state average as of spring, 2015 was around $7300 per acre. High quality farm land in northwest Iowa in that same survey showed an average around $11,600.

On a little bit smaller farm of just over 100 acres, the tillable land brought just over $11,000 per acre according to Hatterman. He says he thinks the reason it brought less was that the piece of land was cut up a little more. He says pasture land on that farm brought $3500 per acre. According to the Iowa State survey, that too is above average, with the average price in spring, 2015 being about $2800 per acre.

Hatterman says that the price of really good land has been pretty steady, with the lower-quality land bringing a little less recently than in recent years.

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