N.D. crop land values drop 9 percent, Appraisers see decline from 2013

FARGO -- North Dakota cropland values declined about 9 percent in 2015, and pasture land and rental rates came down, but not as much. Those are two conclusions of a survey of actual sales and rental arrangements reported by the North Dakota chapt...

FARGO -- North Dakota cropland values declined about 9 percent in 2015, and pasture land and rental rates came down, but not as much.

Those are two conclusions of a survey of actual sales and rental arrangements reported by the North Dakota chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. This year's 19th annual survey took reports from 37 members.

The annual report, discussed at the group's annual meeting in Fargo, is described as a "snapshot" of actual sales and rental rates of non irrigated land in the calendar year 2015. The report is cited to be based on actual deals, unlike the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service surveys, which are based on survey responses and numbers that are released long after collection.

In the survey, land professionals were asked to omit data from "non typical sources," including irrigated cropland, transitional and development land, and land under restrictive easements, the report says.

Here are details from the five regions.


- Red River Valley -- Land declined in price by 9 percent, with an average of $4,500. This was after a 5 percent decline in 2014, at $4,935, which followed four straight double-digit increases to a peak of $5,200 per acre in 2013.

The six counties along the eastern border showed (mean) average per-acre land values: east Cass, $5,308; Pembina, $5,055; Richland, $4,809; Traill, $4,300; Walsh, $3,943; and Grand Forks, $3,583. Pembina posted the high price of $8,364 an acre, ahead of Cass County, with one sale at $7,763 an acre.

Cropland average rental rates topped out at a maximum of $225 all of those counties, except for Richland, which was at $200 per acre. Lows were reported in Grand Forks County at $40 per acre; Pembina and Walsh counties at $50 per acre; Richland County at $75 per acre; and Cass County at $100.

- Northeast -- Land values declined an average of 10 percent to $2,279, after an 8 percent decline in 2014, and a peak of $2,763 in 2013. This includes ten full counties and parts of west Grand Forks and Walsh counties that are outside the Red River Valley.

County average per-acre cropland values were led by: west Grand Forks, $3,163; Foster, $3,040; Cavalier, $2,812; and Steele, $2,794. The highest cropland prices paid were topped out by Grand Forks at $5,150; Foster at $5,000; at Steele, $4,543; west Walsh at $4,261; and Cavalier at $3,500. Counties with the highest number of sales were Steele, 40; and Benson, 39, while the lowest was Nelson County, with only 4 sales.

Cropland cash rent highs ranged from $80 per acre in Benson and $85 per acre in Ramsey County, and up to $175 an acre in Foster, western Grand Forks and Griggs counties.

Pasture prices in the area ranged from $346 per acre to $1,575, with an average of $872 per acre. Pasture rents ranged from lows of $15 in several counties up to highs of $40 per acre, which was reported with one deal in Benson County.

- Northwest/North Central -- Land declined by 2 percent -- the smallest percentage decline, after a 1 percent decline from the peak in 2013.


The per-acre cropland averages for the highest counties in this region were: McLean, $2,775; Mountrail, $175; Bottineau, $2,158; Renville, $2,076; and McKenzie, $1,979. The per acre cropland sale prices were highest in these counties: McClean, $5,200; Bottineau, $4,664; Ward, $3,500; Renville, $3,246; and McHenry, $3,126.

Pasture price averages ranged from a low of $440 per acre in Burke County to a high of $1,077 in McLean County. County high prices in the region ranged from $709 per acre in Burke County to $1,600 in McLean County. Burke County also posted the lowest pasture land price, at $168 per acre.

Cropland price cash rents were as high as $150 in McLean County to as low as $20 per acre in Williams County. Individual pasture land rent ranged from highs of $40 per acre hit in McLean and Rolette counties to a low of $6 per acre in Mountrail County.

- Southwest -- Cropland average values tumbled 13 percent to $1,739 per acre in the region. That was the biggest  average annual percentage decline reported in the state. The region had reported a 17 percent increase in 2014 and a peak average that year of $2,009.

County average high per acre prices were: Stark, $2,084 per acre; Morton, $2,069; Hettinger, $1,995; Dunn, $1,958; and Slope, $1,809.

In individual deals, buyers paid up to $3,600 per acre for the peak sale of the region in Morton County, while the lowest reported cropland sale in the region was $710 per acre in Adams County.

Pasture price averages were highest in Morton County at $2,397 per acre -- far and away higher than the second-highest $1,527 per acre price paid for pasture in Oliver County. Cropland rental rates were reported as high as $92 per acre in Morton County, and as low as $20 per acre in Adams County.

- Southeast -- Cropland sale prices averaged $2,967 per acre, down 10 percent from the 2014 peak of $3,313 per acre in 2014. The area includes western Cass County and everything west to the Missouri River.


County average prices were led by west Cass at $4,275 per acre; Sargent at $4,159; Dickey at $3,855; and Ransom at $3,684. High values hit were in these counties: Dickey, $5,959; Ransom, $5,738; west Cass, $5,670; and Sargent, $5,128 per acre. Low prices bottomed out at $677 per acre in Kidder County and $963 in Barnes County.

Pasture land averages highs were hit in these counties: Dickey, $2,402 per acre; Sargent, $1,622; and Emmons, $1,429, while the lowest average was Barnes County, $946 per acre. Individual pasture deals went as high as $2,819 per acre in Dickey County, followed by $2,050 in Emmons County.

The lowest pastureland price was recorded at $328 in Barnes County.

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