2020 farmland sold for highest profits in ten years

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 7:07 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Farm real estate agents are reporting things were pretty good for their business last year. New numbers from land sales show the rally in grain markets, government payments and low interest rates all helped push farm land prices to some of their highest levels in about a decade. Illinois led the increase in 2020 with land prices there up 4% for an average price of $11,200 an acre. Iowa was close behind with land sales averaging $10,400 an acre in 2020—up 7% from 2019. Indiana farm land sold for an average of $9,700 an acre for an 8% jump in price with Ohio next with sales averaging $7,800—7 and a half percent more than in 2019. About 80% of the farm land that sold last year was purchased by farmers.

According to numbers just put together by the Wisconsin Ag Connection, Wisconsin lost 360 more dairy farms in 2020 bringing our total number of herds at the end of last year down to 6,932. In 2019 we lost 818 herds while both 2018 and 2017 saw a loss of more than 500 dairy farms. Clark County continues to have the most dairies in the state with 714 at the start of the year with Marathon County second with 421 herds.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has designated 88,000 more acres across the state as Ag Enterprise zones. That includes adding over 5,000 acres to the Town of Grant AEA in Chippewa and Dunn counties, mainly in the town of Otter Creek. That AEA was set-up in 2014 in the towns of Grant, Colfax, Sand Creek, Otter Creek and Cooks Valley and now has 31,140 acres in farmland protection practices. DATCP officials also say they will be taking applications for new AEA zones through August 1st.

Congress has already approved a third Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that would set aside about $26 billion to help farmers and help food nutrition and feeding programs. But the Congressional Research Service is questioning the need for another aid program. Researchers say that most crop and livestock prices, except for beef and dairy, have seen price increases since last summer so they speculate crop farmers don’t really need more aid.

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