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Farmland Is Real Estate's Big Bright Spot

Farm equipment and grain silos are silhouetted against a setting sun near Farmingdale, Ill.
Seth Perlman
Farm equipment and grain silos are silhouetted against a setting sun near Farmingdale, Ill.

This headline today on a story behind The Wall Street Journal's paywall ...

"U.S. Farmers Reclaim Land From Developers"

... sent us looking for other reports about what the Journal says is a national trend: "raw land destined for residential development has fallen so far in value that thousands of acres across the country are being used again for agriculture."

A few other pieces underscore the strength in farmland prices:

-- Iowa Farmer Today: "Spike In Farmland Values Favors Large Operations, Spooks Lenders."

"Farmland values have doubled over the past decade, as commodity prices have soared and net incomes along with them. In some areas of the Midwest, farmland values have jumped as much as 25 percent in the past year. Auctions, which have become a preferred method of buying and selling land, are turning into spectacles."

-- The Ogle County News in Illinois: "Property Values Down For Some — Farmland Values Are Up."

"Values for many Ogle County properties are down this year due to the sluggish economy and declining real estate prices. ... The only exception to the downward spiral is farmland. ... 'Farmland is still selling pretty well,' said [Ogle County Supervisor or Assessments Jim Harrison]. 'I saw some on the west side of the county recently that went for $8,000 an acre.' "

-- Corn & Soybean Digest: "Green Acres; Is There More Room In The Land Boom?"

"While the Midwest has garnered headlines for record auction prices, cropland in the Northern Plains has delivered the strongest capital gains – up 73% since 2006. ... Other hot spots for buyer demand are western Kentucky and southern Indiana, where land values are up 33.5% and 31.9%, respectively, from July a year ago."

-- Today's Sunbeam in New Jersey: "As Developers Back Off, Farmland Preservation Efforts Roll Along." There, "land that once had been all but secured by developers prior to 2007 suddenly fell back onto the market after the economy tumbled, giving towns a second chance at preservation. Officials in all three counties say preservation efforts have been going strong in recent years, despite — and in some cases because of — the lagging economy."

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