Each year the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA releases estimated average farm real estate values by state. The estimates are based on surveys of farmers from selected geographical areas. The surveys follow strict statistical guidelines. Estimated values maybe revised the following year based on additional information. Revisions may also be made based on data from the 5-year Census of Agriculture. The methodology and timing of the study has changed over time but the statistical information provides some insight as to the changes in farm real estate values from year to year.
With the 2012 Census of Agriculture being finalized in 2014, revisions have been made to the 2009 - 2013 data and these are the final estimates. All of the years were adjusted down with a range of 1.8% to 9% for an average downward adjustment of 5.4%. Table 1 shows these differences.
Average Illinois Farm Real Estate Value
The average Illinois farm real estate values from 1970 through 2014 are listed in Table 2 and graphically in Figure 1. The average farm real estate value for Illinois in 2014 was $7,520 per acre, the highest on record. This includes the value of all land and buildings. The figure was 5.9 percent higher than the 2013 average of $7,100 per acre. The 2014 increase continues the upward trend of Illinois farm real estate values. It is the first single digit increase following three years in a row of at least 14 percent increases. Illinois farm real estate values have increased 59 percent in five years and 134 percent in 10 years.
Since 1970, average farm real estate values have declined only six times as compared to the previous year. Those years were 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 2009. There have been four years when farm real estate values increased over 20 percent, in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 2005. The largest increase was in 1977 when values rose 37.3 percent.
From 1995 through 1999, average farm real estate values increased between 4.2% and 9% annually. From 2000 to 2004, farm real estate increased between 1.3% and 5.3%. From 2005 to 2009 the change in average farm real estate values had ranged from -2.2% to 25.4%. Since 2010, the increase in farmland values has averaged 11%.
The farm real estate value data is used to construct index numbers of Illinois farmland values. The index can be found at the farmdoc website ( as of August 14, 2014. farmdoc website)
Zwilling, B.L. "Index Numbers of Illinois Farmland Values." FBM-0321, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois, 2014.