As the rest of the Midwest’s farmland valuations are cooling off, the Panhandle of Nebraska is on fire.
Jessica Johnson, Extension Educator at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center has provided the following assessment of the situation. (It’s mostly about irrigation and tilling potential of land.) Also, this year’s farmland prices data is showing pastureland to be doing well as compared to other categories.
Farmland values in the Nebraska Panhandle continue to climb, according to results of the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Survey released in June. The results reveal that in 2014, the average statewide value of farmland increased 9 percent to $3,315 per acre. In the Panhandle, the average farmland value increased 20 percent to $855 per acre.
Several factors have contributed to rising land values in recent years, including record high farm income, low interest rates, expanding operations, and limited land sales. Even though some of these factors are still in play, the downturn in commodity prices led to more modest increases in statewide cropland values in 2014.
The value of gravity-irrigated cropland in the Panhandle increased 6 percent, consistent with the statewide average for this land class. Center-pivot-irrigated cropland in the Panhandle increased 21 percent to $3,770 per acre. The Panhandle district reported the highest percentage increase for center-pivot-irrigated cropland.
Dryland cropland also showed significant increases from 2013. Dryland cropland with no irrigation potential increased 21 percent to $845 per acre. Dryland cropland with irrigation potential increased 28 percent to $935 per acre. The survey indicated that lingering effects of drought, the conversion of grazing land to cropland, and higher cattle prices could be factors driving up grazing and hayland values.
Non-tillable grazing land increased 9 percent in the Panhandle to $405 per acre. The Panhandle had the lowest reported increase of this land class in the state. Tillable grazing land had an increase of 29 percent to $550 per acre. Hay land had the largest increase of any land class in the Panhandle with a change of 31 percent from 2013 to 2014, resulting in an average hay land value of $1,025 per acre.