MATTOON -- The upcoming Illinois Land Values Conference is slated to address farmland sale prices that have reportedly been flat or down a little during the past year around the state.
However, figures tracked by Farm Credit Illinois indicate that farmland sale prices in East Central Illinois have been more stable and higher in some cases than values in other regions.
The Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers plans to hold its 2018 conference on March 22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington.
“The big news in land values and lease trends is that there is not much news,” conference Chairman Dave Klein of Soy Capital Ag Services Bloomington said in a press release. “Prices paid for farmland around the state have been very flat, if down maybe a little, in the past year. And those involved with farmland rent and lease rates know that the market price of corn is driving those changes."
Klein said later that auctions in Central Illinois have still been going well. Klein said he has seen farmland sell for approximately $13,000 an acre west of Springfield and for $12,200 per acre between Springfield and Decatur.
"We have got some still stable numbers in (the Coles County) area for Class A ground," Klein said regarding top quality farmland.
Farm Credit chief appraiser Kent Reid said he agrees with the conference organizers that overall farmland sale prices in Illinois are flat or down slightly, but he said prices in East Central Illinois are bucking this trend by being more stable and increasing slightly despite low corn prices.
"We have seen it be a lot more stable than I would have predicted," Reid said.
Statistics compiled by Farm Credit show that the sale price for class A farmland that has flat ground and black, high quality soil climbed steadily from 2000 to 2014, as did the prices for other soil types. Prices for class A farmland peaked in 2014 at just under $14,000 per acre and subsequently declined to just over $12,000 in 2017.
Despite this downward trend in Illinois, Reid said 600 acres of class A farmland in Coles, Douglas and Edgar counties recently sold for upwards of $11,950 per acre. He said Douglas County class A farmland has been selling for $10,000-$11,000 per acre so far this year and one 40-acre tract there sold for $13,700 per acre a week ago.
Reid said interest rates for borrowing money are still at a historic low for the time being, so this has continued to spur farmland purchases. He added that less than 1 percent of the total farmland in Illinois is available for sale in a given year, so this helps drive interest in land sales.
"There is a limited supply, so there is still enough demand to maintain those values," Reid said. "Farmland is still a good long-term investment. They don't make any more of it."
Auctioneer Michael Stanfield of Stanfield Auction Co. in Charleston said he agrees with the assessment that overall farmland sale prices in Illinois are flat or down slightly. However, Stanfield said he has not seen a large decline in sale prices for class A farmland and other soil types in his area.
Stanfield said farmland has recently sold for $10,000 to $12,500 per acre between Mattoon and Windsor, $12,250 an acre in the Lerna area, and $13,700 per acre in Douglas County.
"The demand is still going. The farmers are still buying," Stanfield said, adding that current sale price levels in East Central Illinois do not worry him.
Regarding the Illinois Land Values Conference, event chairman Klein said the conference also will address new types of reports on farmland sales that are now being offered by the University of Illinois.
"(The reports) allow us to look back over a number of years at very defined trends not only in the prices historically being paid for land but also the types of land being sold on a regional basis,” Klein said.
This information will be shared at the conference and will be included in the 2018 Illinois Land Values & Lease Trends Report that will be given to those attending. This report is based on information gathered from Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers and Realtor’s Land Institute members around the state with regional-specific sales data from the past year.
Participants can register for the conference online at http://www.ispfmra.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-Land-Values-Conference-Registration-form.pdf .