According to a recent survey and report by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, agriculture land values have appreciated this year in the Northwest and California area. Evidence shows that there is an extremely tight regional supply of available land despite the fact that low commodity prices are bringing down the value of land in other areas.
The average value of land has decreased by $40 from last year. According to the report, the value of cropland this year is $4,090. In Idaho, the average cropland value increased by $100. It was a 3.1 percent increase to $3,300. In California, the average cropland price rose to $10,910 per acre. The new figure represented a 2.1 percent increase. Other regions that recorded a higher percentage increase in farmland value are Oregon and Washington. Oregon was up by 5 percent, while Washington rose by 4.9 percent. Their cropland value was $2,730 and $2,760 respectively.
The increase in cropland value was also consistent with the pasture values. Nationally, the average pasture value is $1,330 per acre. In Idaho, the pasture value is up by 4 percent, at $1,300 per acre. California recorded an increase by 3 percent as the pasture value was $2,700 per acre. The price per acre in Oregon and Washington increased by 3 percent and 2.4 percent in the two regions.
Ben Eborn, an economist at the University of Idaho Extension, said that the high commodity prices that inflated the market caused the first dip in national land values. The buyers were paying higher prices than they could generate from their land. Eborn predicted that the land values would probably go down in the coming years. Idaho farms did not inflate values at the rate that Midwestern farms did. Eborn said that many investors were leasing the land back to the growers who owned them before.
The Senior Vice President for Western Idaho, Doug Robson, stated that the employer’s internal data proved that the land values in the region have strengthened over the years. He attributed this to the state’s ability to attract investors, who could not find better alternatives to farm land. Doug anticipates that Idaho’s core growing areas will remain stable in the coming years.