Schrader: Farmland values remain strong

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The record drought has done little to derail the advance in farmland prices, as eager buyers continue to turn to the land throughout the Corn Belt and beyond, according to R.D. Schrader, president of Schrader Real Estate & Auction Company.

"We've just taken a look back at a number of our auctions for the last half of October, and we're seeing consistently high demand across the spectrum. Prices naturally vary greatly by location and land quality, but in any given location, at any given level of productivity, demand remains largely undiminished," said Schrader.

"There's been a lot of focus on the very high end of the market, and some folks get the impression that all farmland is selling across the board for $15,000 per acre or even more. As a result, they may pass up a buying opportunity because they think current prices may be out of line with the underlying fundamentals," said Schrader. "The opposite is true. Buyers are making business decisions based on rates of return."

The USDA projected net farm income would be the second highest since 1973 adjusted for inflation, thanks in part to high commodity prices and farm insurance. "As we look ahead to 2013 and think long term, folks realize that the returns and long term value of farmland remain. Farmers have always thought long term, and that will never change," said Schrader.

Recent sales for Schrader -- all in the second half of October -- include:

  • 174 acres in Tippecanoe County, Ind., for $1,145,000, or $6,580 per acre.
  • 229 acres in Tipton County, Ind., for $1,675,000, or $7,314 per acre.
  • 290 acres in Butler County, Ohio, for $1,816,000 at $6,262, with prices ranging as high as $9,333 per acre.
  • 204 acres in Clinton County, Ind., for $1,254,600, or an average $6,150 per acre.
  • 228 acres in St. Joseph County, Ind., for $1,815,000, or $7,960 per acre.
  • 410 acres in Wayne County, Ind., for $2,385,000, or $5,817 per acre.
  • 299 acres in Newton County, Ind., for $3,350,000, or $11,194 per acre.

"In all of these cases, we got results that would be considered strong by any historical standard, but they are still prices based on current returns. And with rents continuing to climb, land continues to be attractive to investors as well," said Schrader.

Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, based in Columbia City, Ind., is a leading auctioneer of tillable farmland throughout the United States.


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