University of Missouri Extension’s annual survey of farmers, rural appraisers and agricultural lenders show all classes of land values grew steadily in the past year.

No governmental or public agencies in Missouri require the reporting of land values, MU Extension agricultural economics professor Ray Massey said, but the survey, with a limited number of responses, gives the best available estimates for tracts larger than 40 acres.

Low interest rates and nonfarm recreational purchases pushed values upward in 2020.

Buyers of farmland near metropolitan areas said broadband internet expansion made the properties more attractive. COVID-19 also nudged some city dwellers to buy property in rural areas to build a house, but Massey said that likely is a short-term phenomenon.

Respondents gave estimates of land values as of July 2020 for good, average and poor cropland and pasture, irrigated cropland, timberland and hunting-recreational land.

The statewide average value of good non-irrigated cropland was $5,555 per acre, $134 or 2% above the 2019 value. The average statewide value for irrigated cropland came in at $6,335, up $186 from the year before.

The survey indicated that 60% of buyers intend to farm the land themselves, 25% plan to rent the land to others and the remaining 12% bought the land for nonfarming purposes.

The greatest increases in average values were in pastureland and timber/hunting/recreation land, but varied greatly through the state. “This underscores the need to use caution when valuing any one parcel of land or using individual districts,” Massey said.

Missouri timberland was up $251 to $2,561 per acre in the survey, while hunting/recreation land was up $125 to $2,581 per acre.

The state’s farmland and building values have steadily appreciated 6% per year since 1950, Massey said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Missouri land values have been slightly under trend for the past two years.

The Missouri Farm Land Values Opinion Survey is available online and as a free PDF download at extension.missouri.edu/G401.

Hemp Summit

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will offer a virtual Hemp Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The free online event will take place 9 a.m. to noon with presentations from growers, processors, university researchers, industry stakeholders and IDOA staff.

Topics include the 2020 growing season, best practices and lessons learned. Information on panelists will be available prior to the event.

“We have had two solid hemp growing seasons here in Illinois, with many takeaways from those who have weathered the challenges that come in the infant stages of an industry,” IDOA Division Manager David Lakeman said. “To have a venue where farmers, processors and others involved in the industry can share what works and what doesn’t is invaluable.”

Registered attendees will be emailed a link to the event on Monday, Feb. 22.

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