Amid difficulties for farmers, land values hit new record highs

As farmers have faced financial stresses from global trade disputes and widespread flooding, the value of their land has reached record highs this year.

Nationally, the value of farm real estate — defined as all land and buildings on farms — hit $3,160 per acre, an increase of about 1.9% from last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Land Values Summary. The value of cropland — defined as land used to grow field crops, vegetables, or land harvested for hay — increased about 1.2% to $4,100 per acre. Pasture — or land normally grazed by livestock — appreciated 2.2% to $1,400 per acre.

In Missouri, prices remained fairly steady. The average per-acre value of farm real estate was $3,400, up 0.6% from a year ago. The average value of cropland in Missouri was unchanged from 2018, standing at $3,490 per acre. Pasture in the state saw the greatest increase in value, jumping 3.1% to $1,980 per acre.

Although farmland in Missouri is more valuable than the national average, the state lags its neighbors in the “Corn Belt,” an economic region defined by the USDA. Missouri has the lowest farmland values in the region, which also includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio.

Some states in the Corn Belt region have witnessed drops in land values. Iowa cropland value has fallen by over 6.5% since 2015, while the decreases for Illinois and Indiana were 2% and 5%, respectively.

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