Farmland Value Update - Summer 2024

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Midwestern Farmland Trends: Stability Amid Shifting Economic Factors

The last 4 years across the Midwestern farmland market have been unlike any in my 3 decades in the farmland business. Record on-farm profits rooted in strong commodity prices, combined with low interest rates, strong exports, and an overall increase in demand for land as an investment, created an environment where land values rapidly appreciated. Importantly, during this time most farming operations reinforced their financial health. However, it now appears we’ve entered a new phase of the cycle, where the underlying factors that previously powered that appreciation, have shifted (or are shifting). Thus far, land values across the Midwest have held mostly stable, with some localized variations.

Iowa Land Leaks Lower

The REALTORS® Land Institute - Iowa Chapter recently announced the results of their semiannual land trends and values survey. The results of the March survey show a 3.1% decrease on a statewide average for Iowa land over the September 2023 to March 2024 time period. This is following the March 2023 to September 2023 time period that showed a 0.2% decrease, giving Iowa a 12-month value decrease of 3.3% on tillable acres. The majority of our Iowa team, as well as other market players, note that potential land buyers have plenty of “dry powder” available, while also noting that buyers have generally become more selective because market conditions are changing.

Illinois Farmland Holds Steady

According to the annual survey conducted by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, survey respondents are expecting farmland values to remain stable in 2024, with the possibility of slight price declines. The primary factors behind this expectation are the declines in corn and soybean prices, combined with pressure from higher interest rates. Similar to Iowa, a mix of farmers and investors are both active in the Illinois land market, although farmers represent a clear majority.

Nebraska Land Continues to Rise

Nebraska farmland values actually increased by 5% over the prior year, according to the March 2024 release of Cornhusker Economics from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. This marks the third consecutive year of increases in the market value of agricultural land in Nebraska, setting another high in the non-inflation-adjusted statewide land value in the survey’s 46-year history. Survey respondents attributed the rise in Nebraska agricultural real estate values to purchases form farm expansion, current live-stock prices, 1031 exchanges, and the limited amount of land offerings for sale. Our team acknowledges the data presented in the March 2024 report, but we also believe the year-over-year rise in Nebraska land values can largely be attributed to the first half of 2023, whereas the late 2023 market was more stable/level.

Minnesota Land Leveling Out

According to an early 2024 report from the Minnesota Chapter of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers, southern and central Minnesota land values can be classified as stable. There continue to be selective strong sales, but multiple regions within the Minnesota market reflect a plateauing of values compared to the year prior. Weaker commodity prices and higher interest rates are regularly mentioned as pressuring factors. However, pockets of concentrated crop and livestock diversity (e.g., sugar beets, peas, kidney beans, poultry, swine), along with a significant processing base (e.g., ethanol, biodiesel) throughout the region, continue to provide overall stability to farmland assets in the southern regions across Minnesota.


In summary, the Midwestern farmland market remains stable, and thus far, largely resilient in the face of shifts in the larger underlying economy. Given the underlying weakness in commodity prices, along with the higher interest rate environment, the potential for weakness does exist. However, crop production and land sale volume will both also play a role in determining the direction of the larger land market in 2024. And because of our local presence throughout the Midwest, we are positioned to help our clients understand the idiosyncrasies in their land assets and the markets where those farms are located, our clients will subsequently be better able to make confident and informed ownership decisions.

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