The latest Iowa State University Extension survey shows the third straight increase in farmland prices in Iowa. The average price of an acre of Iowa terra firma increased eight-point-two percent to two-thousand-83 dollars. ISU extension farm economist Mike Duffy says that’s the second highest price average an acre in the 61 years of the survey. The peak is 21-thousand-47-dollars in 1981, but he says if the price is adjusted for inflation, land prices were higher in the early 60s and late 70s. Duffy says he was surprised by the degree of variation in values across the state. Nineteen counties actually lost value, the biggest drop at nearly nine percent, while a number of others increased over 20 percent. He says the most expensive ground hit a level not seen in two decades. The survey found ground at over three-thousand dollars an acre for the first time since 1981. He talks about some of the other record numbers.He says there were record values reported in the west-central, east-central and southern crop reporting areas. The priciest ground in the survey was in Scott County at over 33-hundred dollars an acre — while the county with the cheapest land staid the same. The lowest priced ground was in Decatur County at 823 bucks an acre. Duffy says low interest rates and the stock market uncertainty make farmland appealing to investors, with record investment totals reported this year. Duffy expects the trend to continue. He says there’s still some unknowns in what the new farm bill will bring, but he says there’s still plenty of investors with nowhere to go with their money until the stock market stabilizes once again. Duffy says some people will like the survey results, while others won’t.He says landowners will like it, but renters won’t, as rent is tied closely to land value. The entire survey is available on-line at www.extension.iastate.edu.
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