Nebraska panhandle land values continue to go higher

Despite extreme drought across the state in 2012, agricultural land values continued their upward climb A new report released by the University of Nebraska has published the results of the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Survey.

In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, UNL Extension Educator Jessica Johnson says farmland values increased in the Panhandle, but not as much as they did statewide. Farmland values increased across the state by an average of 25 percent in 2013, to $3,040 per acre. However, in the Panhandle, the average land value increased 13 percent from 2012 to 2013, to $715 per acre.

The value of land can be largely attributed to its productivity; land classes with higher potential profit have greater values. Johnson says land with irrigation potential is showing the largest year over year growth.

Factors contributing to rising land values including record high farm income, low interest rates, operation expansion, and limited land availability. Typically there is about 1 and half percent turnover annually. The majority of land purchases were by active farmers or ranchers. Johnson says the Panhandle had the highest percentage of out of state buyers at 21 percent.

Fifty-seven percent of land sold in the Panhandle was pasture, 22 percent dryland cropland and 21 percent irrigated cropland.

In the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Survey, UNL reports grazing non tillable land averaged $370 an acre, dryland with no irrigation potential averaged $700 an acre, gravity irrigated cropland averaged 2,875 an acre and center pivot cropland averaged $3,115 an acre.

Rental rates also increased in the Panhandle in 2013. Drought conditions hampered dryland cropland values, which only increased 3 percent over 2012, to $40 per acre. Larger increases in irrigated land in 2013 were supported by valuable supplemental water for crops. Center-pivot irrigated cropland is renting on average for $225 per acre, a 13 percent increase. Pasture rent remained at constant from 2012 to 2013 at $13 per acre.

To see the full 2012-2013 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights report visit

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