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Iowa farmland values up, Scott County highest in state

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A survey has shown that the value of Iowa farmland has reached a historic peak statewide and Scott County has the highest farmland values in the state.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, ISU conducted its annual Iowa Land Value Survey in November 2013 and found that an average acre of Iowa farmland rose over five percent from 2012. An average acre is now valued at $8,716 statewide. Land values in Scott County were reported over $12,400.

For four years in a row Iowa farmland values have increased from year-to-year.

ISU economics professor Michael Duffy who conducts the survey noted that there is a connection between farmland values and gross farm income.

"Farm income is a strong indicator for the direction land values will go, but there are other factors as well," Duffy said. "Interest rates remain low, but the percent of respondents who reported less sales than in 2012 was the highest it’s been since 1985."

Most of the survey participants showed concern about income, and 76 percent mentioned that lower commodity prices were a negative factor affecting farmland values.

Duffy said while a major collapse in land values is unlikely he believes if commodity prices continue at a low level land values will drop.

The Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station at ISU sponsors the Iowa Land Value Survey, which was initiated in 1941, according to ISU Extension and Outreach.