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Iowa agriculture property value assessments, similar to residential, are on the rise

In Polk County, agricultural land assessment rose by an average of 36% while in Ames, an average increase of 40% is expected.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Polk County Assessor's Office anticipates an average 36% increase in agriculture property this year.

In Ames, that average increase is roughly 40%. 

The steep hike in property values is concerning for Iowa Corn Growers Association Chair Lance Lillibridge, who says his 1,400 acres have continued to get pricier over the years. 

"15 years ago, some of our land the taxes on it was maybe $10, $12 an acre," he said. "And today, some of its running $25 to $30. And so it just continually goes up."

This comes as the organization says corn is almost a dollar lower today per bushel compared to a year ago, all while costs are rising. 

"Fertilizer prices spiked, and went up almost 300%," Lillibridge added. "As a farmer, we don't get to pass those costs along. And so we have to mitigate through that."

One way Lillibridge anticipates farmers like him mitigating potential rising costs is by cutting spending on things that aren't vital to his operation, like conservation efforts. 

"Am I going to be able to go out and plant trees near a waterway or a creek or something like that? No. Am I going to be able to maybe spend $20 An acre on cover crops? No."

County assessors are reminding people that values are set according to the market as directed by Iowa Code. They do not calculate taxes; that is the next step that comes when values are transferred to the Auditor's Office.

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