Nebraska ag land worth 25% more, retraction expected

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All-land value in Nebraska is estimated to be $3,040 per acre, more than double the estimate from three years ago, but values may not remain inflated.

Nebraska’s agricultural land markets increased by 25 percent in 2012 with percentage gains reported for all farmland classes in the state. The findings by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reports drought conditions elevated market demand for irrigated cropland, which showed the largest percentage value gains across the state.

"Income flows from irrigated land have been phenomenal in recent years, and 2012 was no exception," UNL agricultural economist Bruce Johnson said. "The combination of favorable irrigated yields while widespread drought was seen across the nation's Corn Belt fueled high crop commodity prices."

Cattle producers and crop growers alike have paid more for land. While drought cut forage capacity by 50 percent or more, grazing land values continued higher.

Land values have shown substantial increases recently with lands values up 22 and 32 percent in the previous two years, but southern parts of the state experienced greater land value increases than northern areas.

Johnson admits selling prices this year are high and little, if any, upward movement is expected for the remainder of the year and looking three-to-five years away.

"At some point, the implied economic returns to land as a percent of value can fall to a point where market participants say 'enough' and no longer bid values higher," Johnson said.


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