OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s farmland values saw a decline for the second consecutive year after decades of increases.
The Nebraska Department of Revenue released a report Friday showing that agricultural land values fell by almost 2.8 percent, the Omaha World-Herald reported . The values dropped by 0.15 percent last year, which marked the first decline after nearly 25 years of increases.
Residential and commercial property values increased this year by 5.4 percent and 6.9 percent respectively.
Experts said the farmland property values follow the price decline for corn, soybeans, beef and other commodities over the past few years.
“It’s a reflection of the farm economy right now,” said Jay Rempe, an agricultural economist with the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
The decline can be seen as a “rebalancing,” said Eric Thompson, director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research. Farmland values were at “unusually high levels” early this decade, he said.
A modest drop in farmland values won’t bring extensive property tax relief, according to Craig Weber, a farmer north of Kearney.
“It’s going to take a lot of 2.7 percents to get our property taxes where they’re a little more reasonable,” Weber said.
Farmland values took the biggest hit in Hitchcock County, where they dropped by more than 10 percent.
Gov. Pete Ricketts proposed reforming agricultural land valuations last year to lower property taxes on farmers and ranchers, said Taylor Gage, the governor’s spokesman.
“The governor has continued to fight for property tax relief in spite of the failure of senators to adopt his proposal,” Gage said.
Weber said the agriculture industry is “cyclical,” and that “we’ll be headed back to more profitable times.”