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Report shows drop in Iowa farmland values as commodity prices, income decline

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AMES, Iowa — The average price of Iowa farmland fell nearly 9 percent in the past year, but it still remains far above the prices of a decade ago.

A report from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University shows prices fell 8.9 percent, to an average of $7,943 an acre. Despite the drop, the average price is more than double prices seen a decade ago, the Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1wTLNEV ).

"Commodity prices and farm income are settling back to more expected levels, and I think land values will probably move sideways for a while," said Michael Duffy, a retired Iowa State professor who conducted the survey.

It was the second time since 1999 that the survey showed farmland prices had declined.

Steve Bruere, the president of Clive-based land brokerage and management firm Peoples Co., said recent increases in grain prices should help farmland prices. Corn futures now are trading at about $4 a bushel.

"I don't think the 9 percent drop in land values in itself is going to cause a lot of stress," he said. "If you see corn prices with a 3 in front of it instead of a 4, then I think we'll start to see some pain."

Eastern Iowa's Scott County had the highest average farmland price at $11,618. The lowest average price was $3,587 in Decatur County, in south-central Iowa.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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