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Farmland prices trend upward

Not necessarily good for farmers

Staff writer

During a Nov. 16 auction, farmland near the intersection of 120th and Limestone roads sold for $2,450 an acre.

“To my knowledge, that’s the highest price paid in Marion County,” Bob Watson of The Citizens’ State Bank in Hillsboro said. “I would think that’s a new record.”

Mike Thomas of Cooperative Grain and Supply of Marion said he’s heard of bottomland selling for higher prices, but never upland.

“I can’t imagine paying that much for upland ground, but there must have been two guys that really wanted it,” Thomas said.

Watson said the sale was part of a trend of rising prices for farm ground in the past couple of years.

Among the benefits of the trend, higher land prices are good for farmers who are ready to sell, he said. It can also increase the net worth of owners, although farm ground isn’t easily converted to cash, Watson said.

Higher land prices could increase the cost for farmers to cash-rent land, though, Thomas said. It could also increase property taxes. And just as high prices are good for farmers ready to sell, they can be a barrier to new farmers.

Thomas sees a couple of possible reasons for the upswing in land prices. With the volatility in the stock market in recent years, investors may be interested in tangible assets like land, he said. Land prices may also be buoyed by high grain prices.

Last modified Nov. 24, 2010

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