A 79-acre farm in an area hard hit by the drought sold for $13,189 per acre this week as bidders looked past the current crop season and focused on the long-term value of Midwestern farmland.
The Indiana farm—offered as a single tract—sold for $1,045,000 to a local farmer.
"People keep saying that the drought will suppress farmland prices, but if that's happening, you sure couldn't see it in White County, where the most active bidders were neighboring farmers who have a commitment to the land and recognized the opportunity to add to their holdings in the area," said R.D. Schrader, president of Schrader Real Estate & Auction that conducted the auction.
"For a couple of years, the amount of farmland for sale has been very low compared to the demand, and when a farmer has the opportunity to own and work additional land near his existing farm, he knows that it may be decades before that property goes up for sale again, so he doesn't focus so much about one year's weather," said Schrader.
The field of 27 bidders included investors but was dominated by farmers, according to Schrader. "Even as we got over $10,000 an acre, we still had several farmers competing for the land. In recent months, the buyers of about three-fourths of our land have been farmers, and they're the ones who understand the land and the economics of farming best."