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Tama County farm ground dips to under $8,000 per acre in avg. value

February 17, 2016
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Farm ground in Tama County was down 6.72 percent in value to $7,985 per acre according to the 2015 Farmland Value Survey conducted by the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Economics Department at Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The annual report on Iowa land values has been made since 1941.

The survey and past records show this is the second year in a row for a decrease in price in Tama County. The 2014 average value for Tama County was $8,560 per acre.

Land values in the county have jumped annually 54 times in the past 65 years. Some of those gains were quite modest compared to the astronomical jumps seen in many of the past dozen years. In 2013, the Tama County value was up 7.25 percent, a five-year trend which included a 30.6 boost in value in 2011. In fact, farm ground has risen in value in Tama County in every year since 1999 except in the year 2009.

Article Photos

2015 Iowa Land Values by County


For surrounding counties to Tama, the results appear similar. They include - 2014 value in parenthesis: Marshall- 2015- $7,995 per acre - ($8,550) -6.49%; Grundy 9,183 (9,876) -7.01%; Black Hawk 9,198 (9,962) -7.85%; Benton 8,485 (9,080) -6.55%; Iowa 7,572 (8,113) -6.66%; Poweshiek 7,581 (8,123) -6.67%; and Jasper 7,867 (8,402) -6.36%.


Overall the ISU survey showed a 3.9 percent drop state-wide with the average price from November, 2014 - November, 2015 at $7,633 per acre.

Three counties along the northeastern Iowa border had the highest percent increases of seven Iowa counties having land value gains. They are Allamakee County $5,586 per acre and neighbor to south, Clayton county $7,102- both up 2.94 percent and Dubuque at $8,152 up 2.04%.

The two counties with the largest percent decline were Mitchell -8.77% to $7,999 per acre and next-door to the south Floyd -8.57% to 7,808.

Highest priced land in the state continued to be Scott County

Results Analysis

Wendong Zhang, ISU Extension economist authored the survey.

In it he says, in part, "The results of the 2015 Iowa State University Farmland Value Survey are not surprising. With the decline in corn and soybean prices, in addition to the 8.9 percent decline in farmland values in 2014, landowners and agricultural professionals familiar with farmland markets have already expected farmland values to decline this year.

"The 3.9 percent decline may seem less than what many people speculated, especially given the most recent prediction from USDA that U.S. net farm income would be down 38 percent from last year. However, I would argue that the 3.9 percent decline is not out of line due to a mix of factors.

"First, despite the sharp decline in corn and soybean prices, many farmers still have a lot of cash in hand accumulated from the golden 2000s. "Second, it was widely accepted among farmers and landowners at the start of 2015 that commodity prices, farm income, and profit margins probably wouldn't improve much over the year, and arguably the farmland market has already capitalized these expectations.

"Therefore, the downward pressures did not cause a panic market reaction. Finally, despite the weakening agricultural exports, especially from China, the U.S. economy is still more robust than many other countries across the globe. Of particular interest to farmland markets, the livestock sector still saw strong growth, recreational demand is on the rise, and high CRP payments are boosting the values of pastureland, timberland, and low-quality cropland."



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