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Iowa average farmland value increases 1.7% in past year

Despite the derecho, trade uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic, the average value of an acre increased by $127 since 2019.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this July 11, 2018, file photo, a field of corn grows in front of an old windmill in Pacific Junction, Iowa. The federal government said Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, it would give farmers an additional $14 billion to compensate them for the difficulties they've experienced selling their crops, milk and meat because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File )

AMES, Iowa — The annual Iowa Land Value Survey shows the value of Iowa farmland increased by an average of 1.7% in the past year despite severe weather, trade uncertainty and the coronavirus pandemic

The survey was led by Iowa State University economics professor Dr. Wendong Zhang and released Tuesday. 

“The land market faced downward pressure initially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which lowered food demand and resulted in declines in livestock and ethanol prices,” Zhang said. 

It found the average value of an acre of farmland was $7,559. That’s an increase of $127 since 2019. 

Farmland value was aided by low interest rates, strong demand for land and billions of dollars in federal payments to farmers.

Of Iowa's 99 counties, 78 showed an increase in land values. Scott and Decatur counties reported the highest and lowest values, respectively, for the last eight years. 

Despite having the highest overall value, average land values in Scott County decreased $178 per acre to $10,659, according to the survey. Decatur County saw average values increase by $264 per acre to $3,849. 

Wayne County reported the largest percentage increase with 7.7% while Lyon County saw the largest dollar increase, $577 per acre. Des Moines County reported the largest dollar increase with $241 per acre. 

Henry County reported the highest percentage decrease with 3.4%, according to the report. 

Land values across crop reporting in Iowa's districts increased, only the Southwest district reported a decline in land values. Land value decreased by 0.9%. West Central and South Central districts, 3.9% and 3.8% respectively, reported the largest increases. 

Both Northeast and Northwest districts reported increases greater than 2%. 

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