The Nov. 18 auction of 556 acres of farmland brought a total of $5.98 million, or an average of $10,755 per acre. Prices on individual tracts ranged from $7,566 per acre to $13,156 per acre. The land was offered in six tracts by Murray Wise Associates

"This was a very significant sale, because it came right on the heels of the harvest and at a time when there is a significant supply of land on the market. We had a huge crowd, and the land brought a price that surpassed the expectations of many. Both investors and farmers were successful in buying land, demonstrating their belief in the value of quality Illinois farmland," said Murray Wise, chief executive officer of the auction company.  

"Obviously, there are a lot of people around who still understand that farmland is a great long term investment, and they're not worried too much about the current price of corn and soybeans," said Wise. 

Watching with special interest were members of Nick Eisenmenger's farm business management class from nearby Parkland College. Twice a year, the class conducts a contest in which students seek to predict the closest winning bid of a farm being sold at auction. Malyssa Wade, a sophomore from Maroa, will receive a $1,000 Murray Wise scholarship for her prediction.  

"I think it is great for students to have experiences like the one provided here by Murray Wise. It is also great for them to see how business is conducted all the way around and see how all of us in agriculture are brought together, from the auctioneers, to the appraisers, to the lenders, then across the board to farmers and investors," said Eisenmenger. 

Murray Wise Associates LLC, headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a leading national agricultural real estate marketing and financial advisory firm, with additional offices in Naples, Florida and Clarion, Iowa.