What do farmland values in Canada, Australia and the U.S. have in common?

Article by FCC Canada

Canada, Australia and the U.S.: Three countries. Three agriculture industries. Each is a global ag powerhouse, exporting some of the world’s largest ag commodity values, and they compete directly with each other. Despite their similarities, together they show how the same economic drivers can produce entirely different patterns in farmland values’ growth rates.

Here’s how.

Patterns in growth of farmland values differ

All three markets saw their farmland values increase at least once over the last three years, but at rates of growth, and in patterns, that differed dramatically. Both Australia and Canada saw only growth over the last three years, while U.S. values, which fell for five consecutive quarters, now appear to have halted their slide.

Different outcomes – but the same drivers behind farmland values

We’ve often repeated that farm income and interest rates are the two most important drivers of farmland values. Given that, it’s not hard to see why values have increased in all three countries. Each Central Bank’s key interest rate has been trending down for several years. Despite recent upward pressures on borrowing costs in the U.S. and Canada, they remain near historical lows. A tight inventory of available farmland has also resulted in strong purchase bids and higher average prices.

But farm income matters most.

Canadian net cash income (NCI) reached a record-high CA$15.7 billion in 2016. It’s grown 23.7% since 2014. The net value of agricultural production in Australia also peaked during the 2015-16 marketing year, having increased by a double-digit rate in the last 3 years.

The U.S. was different. Net cash income declined by a whopping one-third, falling from US$135.6 to US$91.9 billion, between 2013 and 2016.

The stronger USD is one of the biggest culprits in explaining the divergence among the three markets. In fact, the year-to-date average value of the loonie relative to the USD is 15% below its 5-year average. The Aussie dollar has depreciated 14% vs the USD at the same time.

Canadian agriculture is healthy right now, in part because of the recently devalued loonie. We expect it to average US$0.75 for the remainder of the year which, if correct, will support further NCI growth. Now, while the economics are good, is the best time to go over your marketing plans and build contingencies for the days when the market will trend in a different direction.

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Farm Credit Canada 2016 farmland value report

2016 farmland values in Canada: 3 things you should know

Canadian farmland values increased at an average annual rate of 7.9% in 2016. While farmland values continue to strengthen, their rate of growth continues to slow overall. This is the third consecutive year the overall rate of increase declined year-over-year. Average farmland values in Canada increased 22.1% in 2013, 14.3% in 2014, and 10.1% in 2015.

Here are my three takeaways from the 2016 FCC Farmland Values Report. PDF (2.7 MB)

 1. Growth in farmland values slows

2016 farmland values increased in every province (except Newfoundland and Labrador, where a lack of data precluded analysis), with increases ranging from 1.9% (New Brunswick) to 13.4% (PEI). However, the rate of growth slowed for the third consecutive year in Saskatchewan, and for the fourth successive year in Quebec and Ontario. A slowdown in the rate of appreciation at a time when crop receipts show signs of levelling out is a step in the right direction. It helps to keep farmland accessible for producers wishing to expand.

The only province showing signs of a steadily faster appreciation in 2016 was British Columbia, where urban pressures combined with the province’s unique market opportunities resulted in the highest regional farmland value increase in Canada. Farmland values in Nova Scotia and PEI also rose more than they did in 2015.


Of the 51 regions reported in the FCC studyPDF (3.6 MB) seven show no annual change. Eight regions recorded an average annual increase larger than 10%. British Columbia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Saskatchewan have greater variation across regions, with some showing little year-over-year variation next to regions with strong year-over-year variation.

3. Income and interest rates: Consistent drivers of Canadian farmland values

Healthy farm incomes helped drive up farmland values. Tallies for 2016 farm cash receipts aren’t yet available, but we expect crop receipts grew 2% from 2015 – or 10% above the average of the 2011-2015 period. This was thanks to a low loonie, which helped to strengthen demand for Canadian ag products and soften the impact of weather-related production issues in the west.

Low interest rates also support growth in farmland values. The effective business interest rate of the Bank of Canada steadily declined throughout 2016, reaching a record-low in the last quarter of 2016.

Sustaining farm income is essential to support farmland values

Our next blog will feature what we think about long-term prospects for farmland values.

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Growth slows for Canadian farmland value amid declining field-crop prices

Growth slows for Canadian farmland value amid declining field-crop prices ERIC ATKINS The Globe and Mail Published Monday, Apr. 10, 2017 12:01AM EDT Last updated Monday, Apr. 10, 2017 12:01AM EDT

The surge in the value of agricultural real estate is cooling along with crop prices and farm revenues.

Average farmland values rose by 8 per cent in 2016, down from 10 per cent in 2015 and 14 per cent in 2014 according to Farm Credit Canada, the Crown corporation that is Canada’s biggest lender to farmers.

The biggest driver of the decline in growth is lower global prices for field crops, said J.P. Gervais, chief agricultural economist at FCC.

Prices for major Canadian crops including wheat, canola and corn have fallen from their peaks in 2013 and 2012 amid big global harvests and swelling stockpiles.

“We’ve had tremendous growth for the last 10 years, very significant growth. We’ve basically doubled crop receipts mostly across the country,” Mr. Gervais said on a conference call with reporters.

“But I think it would be a little unrealistic to think that the next 10 years will be like the last 10 years.”

Prince Edward Island saw the largest price increase in 2016 of 13.4 per cent, followed by Alberta at 9.5 per cent.

On a regional basis, British Columbia’s South Coast is Canada’s hottest market. The area, which includes the Fraser Valley, posted price increases of 17.7 per cent. This was driven by a large number of sales in the first part of the year as local farmers expanded and residential buyers sought rural properties, according to FCC’s annual report on farmland values, which does not report values in dollar amounts.

Aaron Goertzen, an agricultural economist with Bank of Montreal, said Canadian farmland and city real estate prices have soared for the same reason: low borrowing costs. He notes farm values continued to rise even after commodity prices started falling in 2012.

Canadian farmers, who export most of their grains, have avoided the revenue declines of their U.S. counterparts because the low Canadian dollar has cushioned them against lower crop prices. “That low loonie has propped up farm earnings so people are still willing to pay more for land,” Mr. Goertzen said by phone.

However, Mr. Goertzen warned interest rates look set to begin climbing, and the dollar will follow, nudged higher still by rising commodity prices. “I would expect to see farm prices slow further in the coming years so it’s not going to be, in my view, a bounce back to these really strong, unsustainable growth rates of 10 per cent that we saw for more than a decade,” Mr. Goertzen said. “I think the boom is certainly over, and the question now is what the adjustment to the new normal looks like.”

An acre on the average Canadian farm doubled in value between 2005 and 2015, to $2,700, including the buildings, according to Statistics Canada.

Ontario leads the list, at $10,000 an acre, followed by B.C. at $5,450 and Quebec at $5,100.

Restrictions on farmland purchases by foreign and institutional buyers vary by province, although B.C. and Ontario have no limits.

Mr. Gervais says he doubts foreign competition for agricultural real estate has had much of an impact on values, and says most sales are between producers. “At the end of the day, the supply of land remains quite limited,” he said.

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Betting the Farm

Story by Bloomberg

Betting the farm on record crop, livestock and dairy prices has turned into a losing investment for an expanding share of America’s agricultural heartland. The level of debt to income is the highest in three decades, and growers are increasingly unable to make loan payments.

Four years after record U.S. crop and farmland values boosted purchases of land and equipment, a global surplus has sent prices tumbling and farm income into the longest slump since 1977. The Federal Reserve says growers are borrowing more to pay bills, repayment rates are plunging, and the number of bankers requesting additional collateral is the highest in 25 years.

While low interest rates and savings from big paydays not long ago have kept farmers in better financial shape than the bankruptcy crisis of the mid-1980s, signs of stress are increasing, especially for growers who invested during the boom years. Farm income is down 42 percent from a record in 2013, government data show, and MetLife Agricultural Finance predicts farmland values will tumble 20 percent by 2018.

“Unquestionably, some farmers are not going to make it,” said Dan Kowalski, director of research at CoBank, an agricultural lending cooperative based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. “If they made aggressive growth decisions and did it with debt, that won’t work out well. Credit quality is starting to slip on the farm and smaller agricultural businesses. Bankers are asking if they have the cash flow to pay bills.” Fewer Repayments

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said last week that rural lenders it surveyed are seeing an erosion of financial health and credit conditions for crop and livestock producers in a seven-state region from Missouri to Colorado. In the third quarter, nearly 30 percent of the banks reported a significant deterioration of working capital for farmers, about twice as many as the same time in 2015, the Kansas City Fed said in its Nov. 10 report. An index tracking loan-repayment rates in the region was the lowest since 1985.

“Farmers were fairly flush with cash during the really good times,” said Nathan Kauffman, assistant vice president at the Omaha Branch of the Kansas City Fed. “We continue to see deterioration in general in credit conditions, repayment rates, liquidity, farm income, all of those measures that would kind of be wrapped up in the general financial picture for farm borrowers.”

About 60 percent of total farm loans have been used this year to finance operating expenses such as seed, fertilizer, animal feed and land rent, the Kansas City Fed said. That’s the most in more than two decades.

Bankers are getting more bearish about the farm economy. The Rural Mainstreet Index created by Creighton University, based on monthly surveys of lenders across 10 Midwestern states, sank in October to the lowest since April 2009. The banks expect about 22 percent of farmers to suffer negative cash flows in 2016, and some lenders said farm foreclosures will be an increasing challenge. More Auctions

Farmers National Co., which manages more than 5,000 farms and ranches in 24 states and Canada, said its land-auction business is getting a few calls from banks that are demanding borrowers sell acres to reduce debt or pay off loans.

“I don’t see things turning around until next year, and I’m an optimist,” said Jim Farrell, the chairman and chief executive officer at Omaha, Nebraska-based Farmers National.

MetLife, which manages a portfolio of mortgages for farms, ranches, food production and timberland, said in a Nov. 10 report that farmland values will keep falling for another two years. Prices are headed for their first significant slump in three decades, MetLife said.

In the five Midwest states monitored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, farmland values dropped for the fourth straight quarter in the three months through September, the longest slide since 1987. Prices are down 5 percent from a year earlier in Iowa and 4 percent in Illinois, the Fed said in a Nov. 10 report. Those two states are the top growers of corn and soybeans, the biggest U.S. crops. Cheaper Grain

Futures prices for corn are down 3.5 percent this year and have fallen by more than half from their all-time high in 2012. With cattle and hogs plunging more than 38 percent from records in 2014, net-farm income will slip to a seven-year low of $71.5 billion in 2016, compared with $123.8 billion in 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.

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Iowa Chapter of REALTORS® Land Institute Releases 2016 Land Trends and Values Survey

The Iowa Chapter of REALTORS® Land Institute is pleased to announce the results of their September 2016 Land Trends and Values Survey. REALTORS® Land Institute is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® and is organized for REALTORS® who specialize in farm and land sales, management, development and appraisal. Participants in the survey are specialists in farmland, and are asked for their opinions about the current status of the Iowa farmland market.

Participants were asked to estimate the average value of farmland as of September 1, 2016. These estimates are for bare, unimproved land with a sale price on a cash basis. Pasture and timberland values were also requested as supplemental information.

Survey Results

The results of these surveys show a statewide average decrease of cropland values of -3.7% for the March 2016 to September 2016 period. Combining this decrease with the -5.0% decrease reported in March 2016 indicates a statewide average decrease of -8.7% from September 1, 2015 to September 1, 2016. Since our highs in 2013 we have seen a decrease in land values roughly 25-30% according to our surveys.

All nine Iowa crop reporting districts showed a decrease in the average farmland value. The districts varied from a -2.4% decrease in SC district to a -5.8% decrease in SW district since March 2016. Factors contributing to current farmland values include: lower commodity prices and limited amount of land on the market. Other factors include: lack of stable alternative investments, cash on hand, and increasing interest rates.

The Iowa Chapter of REALTORS® Land Institutes farmland value survey has been conducted in March and September since 1978. This survey, plus the RLI Farm and Ranch Multiple Listing Service, are activities of REALTORS® specializing in agricultural land brokerage on a daily basis. For more information about this survey, please contact Kyle Hansen, ALC, at 515-382-1500.

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Farm land in Canada increase in 2015 10.1 % according to Farm Credit Canada

source:Farm land values report

National trend The average value of Canadian farmland increased 10.1% in 2015, following gains of 14.3% in 2014 and 22.1% in 2013. Overall, the average national values have continued to rise since 1993. In all provinces, farmland values increased. Manitoba experienced the highest average increase at 12.4%, followed by Alberta at 11.6%, Quebec at 9.6% and Saskatchewan at 9.4%. The average increase in Prince Edward Island was 8.5%, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador at 7.7%. Ontario saw an increase of 6.6% and British Columbia saw average land values rise by 6.5%. Nova Scotia saw values rise by 6.3%, followed by New Brunswick at 4.6%

British Columbia

The average value of British Columbia farmland increased 6.5% in
2015, following gains of 4.2% in 2014 and 3% in 2013. Values in the
province have continued to climb since 2011.

Vancouver Island experienced increased demand in 2015, with fewer
properties being on the market for extended periods of time. These
conditions resulted in a slight increase in land value, though not as
significant as may have been anticipated.

The lower mainland, including the Fraser Valley, experienced increased
market activity, which caused farmland values to move up slightly.
Large parcels of land continued to be in high demand as there are
generally few of these available at any given time.

The south Okanagan saw a strong market driving a modest increase
in values in some sectors, including an increase for properties growing
high demand cherry varieties.

Similar to the previous year, the Kootenay area saw an increase in
market activity, which translated to an increase in land values. One of
the reasons for increased activity was the growing interest shown by
producers from other higher priced marketplaces.

Conversely, the Cariboo region of central B.C. and the northwest
region, including the Bulkley Valley, experienced limited market activity
with minimal changes in land values.

The Peace River region saw average sale prices for the year, despite a
limited inventory of good quality farmland and properties being on the
market for a shorter period. These parcels of land often sell privately to
local producers


The average value of Alberta farmland increased 11.6% in 2015, following gains of 8.8% in 2014 and 12.9% in 2013. Values in the province have continued to climb since 1993. The majority of the province experienced a steady increase in farmland values throughout the year. The continued positive outlook on agriculture resulted in many producers purchasing land for expansion or to support succession planning. Agricultural land price increases were observed in northern, eastern and southern portions of the province, largely due to strong pulse crop prices. Continued strength in beef prices resulted in increased demand for land used for grazing in cattle producing areas as well. There were localized areas that started to reflect the impact of the downturn in the resource sector or appeared to have reached the point where the demand for cultivated land lessened.


The average value of Saskatchewan farmland increased 9.4% in 2015, following gains of 18.7% in 2014 and 28.5% in 2013. Values in the province have continued to rise since 2002. While many areas of the province saw price increases, land prices in almost half of the province remained stable or even decreased slightly. The greatest increase in values was seen in areas where pulses, specifically lentils, can be grown. There was limited land available on the market, which resulted in a high demand in areas where existing farms were either expanding or enabling the next generation through succession planning. While land located in the urban fringe also continued to see increased demand and values, the downturn in oil and gas has reduced off-farm income, which has impacted the demand for land in the southeast. Lower commodity prices (excluding pulse crops), late spring frosts resulting in reseeding, delayed rainfall during the growing season, and subsequent rainfall during harvest negatively impacted demand in many areas of the province as well. Saskatchewan continued to have strong demand in specific regions while other regions have stabilized.


The average value of Manitoba farmland increased 12.4% in 2015, which was the highest provincial increase. The province saw values increase by 12.2% in 2014 and 25.6% in 2013, continuing a trend of climbing values since 1992. Crop production land was purchased mainly by local producers expanding their farming operations as the next generation enters the industry. The majority of the province experienced normal to good yields along with average commodity prices, which supported the increase in farmland values. Southeast Manitoba saw many livestock producers expanding and purchasing cultivated land and additional land to facilitate manure management. While the slump in the oil industry has not yet affected land prices in the southwest of the province, market activity was quiet and limited to primarily estate sales.

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Reporting that farmland values in the Seventh District
retreated 3 percent last year, matching the
yearly decrease for 2014 and marking the first consecutive annual
decline since the late 1980s. According to the district’s agricultural
newsletter, which was prepared by Senior Business Economist David
Oppedahl from responses submitted by representatives of 199
agricultural banks, the decrease in Corn Belt values was 7.5 percent
from their peak in 2013 to the end of 2015. Although agricultural land
values fell again in 2015, the total corn harvest in the five states that
comprise the Seventh District was the third largest ever; the soybean
harvest was an all-time record, besting the record-setting harvest of
2014. The Seventh District includes all of Iowa, the northern portions
of Illinois and Indiana, the southern portion of Wisconsin, and the
Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

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USA Farm Sector Profitability Expected To Weaken in 2015

( Land report, United States Department of Agriculture)

Farm Sector Profitability Expected To Weaken in 2015

Both net cash and net farm income are forecast to decline for the second consecutive year after reaching recent highs in 2013. Net cash income is expected to fall by 27.7 percent in 2015, while the forecast 38.2-percent drop in net farm income would be the largest single-year decline since 1983 (in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms).


Both net cash and net farm income are forecast to decline for the second consecutive year after reaching recent highs in 2013. Net cash income is expected to fall by 27.7 percent in 2015, while the forecast 38.2-percent drop in net farm income would be the largest single-year decline since 1983 (in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms).

Crop receipts are expected to decrease by 8.7 percent ($18.2 billion) in 2015, led by a forecast $8.6-billion decline in corn receipts, a $5.7-billion drop in soybean receipts, and a $2.7-billion drop in wheat receipts.

Livestock receipts could fall by 12.0 percent ($25.4 billion) in 2015, a reversal from the 43.8-percent increase in receipts over 2005-14 period.

The reduction in crop and livestock receipts is largely driven by changes in price rather than changes in output.

Government payments are projected to rise 10.4 percent ($1.0 billion) to $10.8 billion in 2015.

Total production expenses are forecast to fall 2.3 percent, the first time since 2009 that they have fallen year over year. Energy inputs and feed are expected to have the largest declines. Expenses are forecast to increase for labor, interest, and property taxes.

After several years of steady improvement, farm financial risk indicators such as the debt-to-asset ratio are expected to rise in 2015, indicating increasing financial pressure on the sector. However, debt-to-asset and debt-to-equity ratios remain low relative to historical levels.

Declining farm sector assets resulting from a modest decline the in value of farmland, investments, and other financial assets—as well as higher debt—are forecast to erode equity by 4.8 percent, the first drop since 2009.

After several years of steady improvement, farm financial risk indicators such as the debt-to-asset ratio are expected to rise in 2015, indicating greater financial pressure on the sector. However, the sector appears to have remained well insulated from solvency risk.

The Value of Agricultural Sector Production Forecast To Fall for the Second Straight Year in 2015

The annual value of U.S. agricultural sector production is expected to fall 9.2 percent to $427.7 billion in 2015, as the value of both crop and livestock production decline (see table on value of production). The value of production is comprised primarily of cash receipts adjusted for any changes in inventories and home consumption use, plus all farm-related income. The falling value of crop production (to a forecast $186 billion in 2015) represents a second consecutive decline from 2013’s record high of $233.2 billion, and the third straight year of declining crop cash receipts despite a net inventory reduction. The value of U.S. livestock production is also forecast to decline 12.3 percent (to $191.3 billion) in 2015 as a large drop in receipts more than offsets the sector’s inventory expansion. Falling Crop Prices and Receipts Forecast for 2015

Crop cash receipts—the cash income from crop sales in the 2015 calendar year—are forecast to fall 8.7 percent in 2015, led by broad price declines for most field crops. Corn cash receipts are expected to decline the most, falling by $8.6 billion in 2015. Since hitting a record high in 2012, corn receipts have fallen 36 percent. While production is expected to drop slightly relative to 2014, corn prices are expected to fall by a larger percentage in 2015. Cash receipts for soybeans and wheat are also expected to decline from 2014, falling $5.7 and $2.7 billion, respectively. Rice cash receipts are expected to decline by 36.4 percent ($1.3 billion) on lower expected production and calendar-year prices.

Despite an expected increase in production, cash receipts for fruits and nuts are expected to remain flat in 2015 due to lower prices received by farmers. Production of grapefruits and oranges are both expected to fall as citrus greening disease has resulted in unmarketable fruit throughout Florida and elsewhere. California citrus production has held steady or increased relative to 2014, despite continued drought conditions. California has historically accounted for a large portion of U.S. vegetable and fruit/nut cash receipts. The drought there is likely to affect fruit/nut and vegetable production, and to reduce cotton and rice cash receipts. California is the second largest rice producing State and accounts for a large share of long-staple cotton production (for more information, see the ERS drought page).

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Farmland Investments Take Root…..

Source: Wall Street Journal

Farmland Investments Take Root TIAA-CREF gets $3 billion for new cropland fund; ‘gold with a coupon’

Farmland Partners CEO Paul Pittman says that softer farmland values are creating buying opportunities. “A little bit of pain in farm country makes our job easier.”

Farmland Partners CEO Paul Pittman says that softer farmland values are creating buying opportunities. “A little bit of pain in farm country makes our job easier.” By David Kesmodel and Jesse Newman

Farmland is attracting growing interest from pension plans, hedge funds and even mom-and-pop investors as they seek to diversify assets and capitalize on an agriculture-industry slump that has pushed down land prices in some regions.

Financial-services giant TIAA-CREF announced Tuesday that it has raised $3 billion for its second global farmland-investment partnership, exceeding its initial target of $2.5 billion. The fund, which will invest in North and South America and Australia, has lined up commitments from institutional investors, including the New Mexico State Investment Council and the U.K.’s Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

TIAA-CREF’s fund marks one of the biggest in a recent wave of cropland investments by institutional investors. Meanwhile, several U.S. public-stock offerings by farmland owners who have packaged their property as real-estate investment trusts, or REITs, are enabling retail investors to place bets on the sector as well.

Investors are betting farmland will yield good long-term returns as global food demand rises with growing populations and wealth in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. The amount of arable land is expected to increase only modestly, at best, due to urbanization and a lack of acreage suitable for crops.

Farmland is part of a broader push by investors into “real” assets—physical property including office buildings, bridges and timber—which typically trade at a low correlation with traditional stocks and bonds. Farmland also generates income from rent paid by farmers, leading some to call it “gold with a coupon.”

One of the attractions is “these are assets that are producing an essential need for society and, in many cases, into perpetuity,” said Jose Minaya, senior managing director at TIAA-CREF Asset Management.

TIAA-CREF, which has managed retirement assets for employees of universities and nonprofits for decades, began investing in farmland in 2007 and now manages more than $5 billion in farmland assets world-wide, Mr. Minaya said. It raised $2 billion in commitments for its earlier global farmland partnership.

Homestead Capital USA LLC, a private-investment partnership led by former executives at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., last month closed on its first farmland-investment fund, raising $173 million. Among its investors are the University of Alabama—making its first investment in cropland—and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

American Farmland Co., led by executives from Optima Fund Management, a firm that invests in hedge funds, in June filed plans to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering for its REIT. It would be the third farmland-focused public REIT, joining Farmland Partners Inc., which went public last year, and Gladstone Land Corp. , which did so in 2013.

Institutional investment in farmland in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter of agricultural commodities, has topped $2 billion over the past two years, according to iiSearches, a data arm of media firm Institutional Investor. While institutional ownership accounts for less than 1% of the $2.4 trillion U.S. farm real-estate market, according to University of Illinois economist Bruce Sherrick, institutional investors are likely to play a greater role, in part because many U.S. farmers—whose average age is 58, according to federal data—are nearing retirement.

U.S. farmland capital values have risen on average 4.6% annually since 1990, according to an index from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries. Including the income generated from land, the average return has been 11.8%.

Farmland values in the Midwest—the main U.S. crop-production region—rose sharply for most of the past decade, fueled by soaring crop prices. Lately, though, the values have cooled amid a three-year slump in grain and soybean prices driven by bumper harvests. Average farmland values dropped 9% last year in Iowa, the biggest corn producer, according to Iowa State University. Values in Illinois, the top soybean producer, dropped 1% to 3%, according to the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Farmland Partners Chief Executive Paul Pittman walks through a field of corn while doing a yield estimate on a farm in Tunica County, Miss. Farmland Partners Chief Executive Paul Pittman walks through a field of corn while doing a yield estimate on a farm in Tunica County, Miss. Photo: Andrea Morales for The Wall Street Journal

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Farm land prices increase more slowly……

CNBC web published

Farmland sees slowest appreciation since 2010: USDA Jeff Daniels | @jeffdanielsca Thursday, 6 Aug 2015 | 12:38 PM ETCNBC.com

Farmland values grew at the slowest pace in about six years, with some regions such as the Corn Belt showing declines, according to a government report released late Wednesday.

Nationwide, farm real estate values (including all land and buildings on farms) rose 2.4 percent to an average of $3,020 per acre in the 12 months ended June 1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Land Values report. That represents a deceleration from the 8.1 percent growth rate reported in 2014 and the slowest pace since 2010.

According to the report, the average value of cropland nationally increased by 0.7 percent to $4,130 per acre in fiscal 2015, well below the brisk 7.6 percent pace of the prior year. The average value for pastureland nationally increased to $1,330 per acre, or 2.3 percent from 2014.

(USDA analyst Rachel Antzak said the overall farm real estate category that saw 2.4 percent growth includes the value of all farmlands—not just cropland and pastureland—as well as “other things,” including buildings.) The report excludes Hawaii and Alaska farmland.

The USDA data appears to show that the drought failed to put much of a dent in cropland prices in California, although the state’s pastureland values were flat compared with those of 2014. In California, the average price of cropland rose by 5.4 percent to $10,690 per acre, and despite the state’s worsening drought, the growth in values exceeded the 2.8 percent pace of the prior year.

In Texas, the average cropland values rose by 9.5 percent to $1,840 per acre in the latest year after jumping 10.5 percent in the 2014 report. Pastureland, however, was up a more modest 1.3 percent in the USDA’s latest Land Values summary.

The average value of cropland in the Corn Belt region (including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio) was $6,840 per acre in the latest 12 months, down 2.3 percent compared with $7,000 per acre a year ago. That represents the first such decline in the Corn Belt region since 2009 and reflects lower corn and soybean prices.

That said, cropland prices in the Corn Belt still are up on average 75 percent since 2010 when they averaged $4,000 per acre, according to government figures. That compares with a national increase of nearly 53 percent in the same period.

Iowa had the biggest percentage drop in average cropland values within the Corn Belt, according to the government figures. Iowa cropland was worth an average $8,200 per acre in the latest 12 months, down 6.3 percent from a year earlier and sharply reversing the heady growth of 9.4 percent in the 2014 report.

Minnesota’s cropland values also were down in the latest period, falling by 2.5 percent to an average of $4,750 per acre from 2014. However, Minnesota’s pastureland values increased 18.8 percent from the previous year.

At an average $13,500 per acre, New Jersey had the most expensive cropland in the lower 48 states, according to the USDA report. Montana had the least expensive cropland, coming in at an average $997 per acre.

Jeffrey Daniela
Jeff Daniels Coordinating Producer

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