August 26, 2019
In recent years, the size of ag land tracts coming up for sale had been on the smaller side in many areas with 60, 80, up to 160-acre farms being sold. These are common size tracts in the eastern cornbelt, but tract sizes generally get larger as you go west into the plains and ranch country. There is a historical basis for differences in farm and tract sizes as the farther east you go, the land had been settled longer and passed through more generational transfers and divisions. Also, many regions east of the Missouri River have more wooded areas on a farm or along a stream than as you move west. If you remember American history, much of the plains region was settled through homesteading, which normally meant 160 acres or a quarter section of land. These size tracts and larger tended to stay together more when sold or transferred as the price of land was less and it required more acres to make up a farm or ranch.
At Farmers National Company, we are handling somewhat larger tracts for sale right now. It is a gradual and small change that is happening in areas such as Iowa where the company is holding a number of auctions of larger than quarter sections. Or the total acres sold include a number of different tracts that add up to an overall larger land holding. There are a number of reasons for the larger tract sizes being sold. The recent Census of Agriculture reported the continuing increase in average farm size to 444 acres. Generation transfers of land have brought to market larger land holdings than in the past as families or individuals accumulate and consolidate their land assets.
Several other reasons have brought about the increase in acres sold at Farmers National as well as the observed increase in the size of the tracts sold. One is that sellers are turning to someone they can trust to market and sell their larger and more complex land holdings. Larger land holdings often require broader exposure to the marketplace beyond just local buyers. Sellers are looking for who can best attract a larger pool of potential buyers to get the best price and complete the sale. There is also an increase in ranch and grazing acres being sold which typically are larger in size than a crop farm. With a broad reach over the plains, Farmers National Company is seeing an increase in the ranch acres it is selling.
The trend of somewhat larger acreages being sold at Farmers National Company maybe a short-term change or one that represents the increase in average farm sizes. It may also be that families that inherit land are becoming slightly more likely to sell the inherited farm or ranch than holding onto it. Also, some landowners who happen to own larger acreages are deciding to sell due to various reasons.
Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations
|Category: Agricultural Real Estate News|