2001 MISSOURI FARM LAND VALUES OPINION SURVEY

Joyce White and Ron Plain
September 26, 2001 green line

A survey was conducted in July of 2001 to determine what people think has been happening to farmland values in Missouri. A questionnaire was sent to 1,000 rural real estate appraisers, ag. lenders, and extension agents in the state and 238 responded. Of those responding, 63% identified themselves as lenders, 20% rural appraisers, 11% extension, 3% sales, and 3% other.

Respondents provided their opinions to 6 questions concerning current farmland values and trends. They were asked to exclude from their answers any tracts smaller than 40 acres that were being converted to commercial use or development.

Their responses were summarized and are reported on the maps on the following pages. Data was averaged by regions designed to reflect similar types of agriculture and also similar demand factors that might be influencing value.

Average Value of Land

Respondents were asked to give their estimates of land values as of June 2001 for three classes of cropland and pasture (good, average, poor), and timberland. Classification of land was left to the judgment of each respondent. They were provided no criteria for classifying land as cropland, pasture, or timber or as good, average, or poor. How to estimate the value of land was also left to their discretion. Their responses are summarized on Maps 1, 2, and 3.

Who Is Buying Farmland?

Respondents were asked what they think buyers of the land in their area plan to do with their purchases. In their opinion, 54% will operate as a farm themselves, 24% will rent out, and 22% will not use for agricultural production (Map 4).

Respondents were also asked if the buyers of this farmland are local people, are from elsewhere in Missouri, or are from outside Missouri. Their responses indicate they think 56% are local, 28% are from Missouri but not local, and 16% are from out of state (Map 5).

Variations in Land Values over Missouri

Comparing data in Maps 4 and 5 with values reported on Maps 1, 2, and 3 can provide insight into possible reasons for the differences in values reported across the regions. Several respondents commented on conditions in their area. They reported buyers' expectation of continued government assistance provides support to the price of farmland. However, some respondents have noticed a weakening in demand for recreational land by non-farmers, probably because of the softening economy. But, demand for large homesites and mini-farms remains significant in several areas. Other comments from respondents can be found at the end of this article.

Outlook

Respondents were asked for their opinions of the percentage change that occurred in the value of land in their area on June 1, 2001, as compared to a year earlier for cropland, pasture, and whole farms. A summary of their responses for the state shows they thought cropland had increased 2.8%, pasture 2.7%, and whole farms 2.2% (Map 6).

For the period January 1, 2001 to January 1, 2002, they expect the value of cropland will increase 1%, pasture 1.7%, and whole farms 0.9% ( Map 7).