Price Plateau?

Survey suggests slowdown in land price increases

FarmlandResults of an annual land values opinion survey show that land prices in Missouri have continued to climb. However, the survey suggests a slowdown in the next year.

“The average value of good cropland by our survey was $4,510 per acre,” said Ron Plain, an MU Extension agricultural economist and D. Howard Doane Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “That was up 17 percent compared to July 2012.”

Good pastureland was up 12 percent, with a statewide average of $2,492 per acre. Timber and hunting/recreational land was 10 percent higher at $1,817 and $1,724, respectively.

Ron Plain.Ron Plain.

“A lot of the respondents think we may be, at least short term, nearing a peak in Missouri farmland values,” Plain, who is co-author of the report, said. “They indicated that they thought cropland would increase between 2 and 3 percent in the coming year, pastureland between 1 and 2 percent, and other land about 1 percent.”

For the past 40 years, MU Extension has conducted an annual survey to track the value of farmland in different regions of Missouri. Plain said it is called an opinion survey because it doesn’t include hard sales data to back up the numbers.

“There are no reporting requirements on land sales, so if you want to get down to hard numbers you have to go courthouse by courthouse pulling the data to see what actual sales values are,” Plain continued. “That’s more costly than we’ve got time and resources to do, so we survey informed people like land appraisers, real estate agents and lenders about what land is selling for in their area.”

Plain says over the years this survey tracks very well with the numbers that the USDA has in an annual report that does use hard data. “The regional data we have on cropland indicate the highest prices for farmland is in extreme southeast Missouri and extreme northwest Missouri,” Plain explained.

According to the survey, 69 percent of buyers were planning to farm the land themselves, while 22 percent planned to rent the land out to be farmed and 9 percent did not plan to farm or rent out the land.