Plymouth County farmland sells for record $26,250 per acre

cigaretteman

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A plot of rich farmland in Plymouth County this week sold for what is believed to be a state record of $26,250 per acre.
The land, between Remsen and Marcus, Iowa, went up for auction Monday. Bidding took 15 or 20 minutes, auctioneer Bruce R. Brock said. Three bidders pushed the price to $25,000, then two bidders jockeying for the land pushed the price up to $26,250 in a matter of one or two minutes before the hammer fell.


"It was really rapid-paced bidding," Brock said in an interview.
The grand total for the 55.56 acres was over $1.458 million, Brock said. The per-acre price is believed to be a record in Iowa. The buyer is a farmer in the area.


The seller was John Fiscus, who lives near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Brock said. The somewhat non-standard number of acres in the sale (farmland is often sold in quarter-sections, 160 acres, or half-quarter sections, 80 acres) was the result of the farmland having been parceled out among members of a family over time.

"So that's why it was an odd-shaped piece, it was just divided up between some family members," Brock said.

The price was all the more remarkable due to the fact that the land has no other use except agriculture. There are no revenue-generating wind turbines on the land, and the property is too far away from any town or city to be readily used for residential or commercial development.


"Just pure farm-ground," is how Brock put it. (Brock's website described the land as "productive and powerful.")
Land of this quality has in recent times averaged about $20,000 to $22,500 per acre, Brock said.
This isn't the first time this year Plymouth County farmland has set a record at the auction block. In May, 96.33 acres of farmland, which included a 3.67-acre farmstead southeast of Le Mars, sold for over $2.6 million.

Later in the summer, a Sioux County farm was sold at auction for $26,000 an acre.


Many farmers in Northwest Iowa are relatively cash-rich, said Jim Rothermich, vice president at Iowa Appraisal, a commercial and agricultural property appraiser in Des Moines. Because of this, they can afford to pay higher prices for farmland even as interest rates rise.
"There's so many people in strong cash positions, especially up there in Northwest Iowa," Rothermich said by phone. "Very strong equity positions with people up there."
Farmland in Plymouth, O'Brien and Sioux counties, are rich and productive and offers close access to ethanol plants and livestock and poultry operations, has long been among the most valuable in the state of Iowa.
The top 10 highest prices paid for farmland in Iowa, according to data compiled by Rothermich, were all in Plymouth, Sioux or O'Brien and all were sold within the last two years -- eight of the records were set this year alone.


Agriculture land in that three-county area has ballooned in value in recent years. Between 2020 and 2021, the average acre of farmland in Plymouth County appreciated by 31.4 percent -- to $12,416 per acre -- according to data from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.


 

DooBi

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Damn. My inlaws sold their inheritance a few years ago for 8 grand. They shoulda waited.

Really not that far from this sale either. About 20 or 30 miles depending on where exactly it is.
 
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BanjoSaysWoof

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It would seem to be hard to get your money back out of that land by farming alone.

Check out a book called “The Last Harvest”. It’s about the history of how farmland became Philadelphia. And how turning a farm into a sub development is “the last harvest”.
 

cigaretteman

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Check out a book called “The Last Harvest”. It’s about the history of how farmland became Philadelphia. And how turning a farm into a sub development is “the last harvest”.
From the article though, it sounds like this land is way out in the country and not near enough to any towns to making it into a development feasible.
 
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Bank of Hawk

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Let say one rents the ground out.. get $350 per acre… $350 X 56 acres= $19,600 a year. (And the $350 is a high number)… it would take 74 years to recoup $1,458,000.. very rudimentary math but a person could drop that money into a premium refund annuity and earn way more on the annual payouts.

Im not sure at those prices, it makes financial sense even if the plan was to own it and farm it.

Suppose the ground will retain value, so that obviously helps make the decision easier. The farmer probably has that money sitting in the bank earning next to nothing…. So why not write a check and pick up some new ground?
 
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hawkjt

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These counties are the highest grossing livestock counties in the state.
That means they need tons of grain to feed and then lots of land to spread that manure
They have huge equipment already so adding land spreads those costs over more acres.
7 dollar corn and 14 dollar beans help out if they did not get droughted out.
Farmers always do better under dem administrations but they hate dems...go figure.
 
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Derekd3408

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P

What does the bold part mean, exactly?
They have so many hogs and cattle in Western Iowa there isn't enough ground to put all the shit on. Farmers that have a lot of hogs need as much ground as possible or they have to limit how many head they raise. You can only put on so much shit per acre.
 
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joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
Profits? You mean capital gains? 87,000 IRS agents will be up that guy’s ass…
You know I had a deal with the IRS two years ago and it was a simple math error. My guy contacted the URS to explain tge mistake (which was fully explained elsewhere on my return) but tge IRS had no agents to take his phone call. Long story short, a mistake that could have been rectified by phone a few years prior, took 9 months to get corrected now. THAT is stupid. Tge IRS has been understaffed for several years and it needs the additional personnel. My advise guys is to stop cheating on your taxes and pay what needs to be paid.
 

BanjoSaysWoof

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From the article though, it sounds like this land is way out in the country and not near enough to any towns to making it into a development feasible.

that’s always the case. Eventually it won’t be. What is now northeast Philly was originally farmland that was way too out in the country.

same with the Bronx.

it’s just a good read even if not relevant to this.
 

MitchLL

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This land sale might also be nothing more than a couple greedy rich farmers bidding up for bragging rights.

If you're currently farming a few thousand acres... with what that's worth, this is nothing.

And believe me, in that portion of Iowa, there are A LOT of farms that large. Or, I should say... LLCs.
 
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DogBoyRy

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This land sale might also be nothing more than a couple greedy rich farmers bidding up for bragging rights.

If you're currently farming a few thousand acres... with what that's worth, this is nothing.

And believe me, in that portion of Iowa, there are A LOT of farms that large. Or, I should say... LLCs.
Guessing 1031 $$ looking for a place to land. Pun intended.
 
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KFSuperStar

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This land sale might also be nothing more than a couple greedy rich farmers bidding up for bragging rights.

If you're currently farming a few thousand acres... with what that's worth, this is nothing.

And believe me, in that portion of Iowa, there are A LOT of farms that large. Or, I should say... LLCs.
It’s good ground. 10 miles north around Granville is great. Lesser ground in Plymouth County is still bringing 20. 26,500 wasn’t a pissing match.
 

rivalhawks

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What is the CSR on this? Must be 90+ to bring that price. Guessing buyer owns land right next to it or very close as well as the other bidders. Those Dutch aren’t afraid of driving up the price.
 

seminole97

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So they have so many hogs and cattle in Western Iowa there isn't enough ground to put all the shit on. Farmers that have a lot of hogs need as much ground as possible or they have to limit how many head they raise. You can only put on so much shit per acre.
People pay a pretty penny to park pig poop?
 

onlyTheObvious

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If they have multiple kids you need more land to pass down to them. If they don’t have enough land the kids will sell.
 

mauricehawki

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Let say one rents the ground out.. get $350 per acre… $350 X 56 acres= $19,600 a year. (And the $350 is a high number)… it would take 74 years to recoup $1,458,000.. very rudimentary math but a person could drop that money into a premium refund annuity and earn way more on the annual payouts.

Im not sure at those prices, it makes financial sense even if the plan was to own it and farm it.

Suppose the ground will retain value, so that obviously helps make the decision easier. The farmer probably has that money sitting in the bank earning next to nothing…. So why not write a check and pick up some new ground?
You ain't renting that land anywhere close to $350 an acre in NW Iowa.
 

rivalhawks

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You ain't renting that land anywhere close to $350 an acre in NW Iowa.

Would be a heck of a deal for the farmer paying that with $7 corn. Maybe a base rent of $350 on a flex lease. $7 corn should be getting $500+ rent. 200 bushels = $1400/acre gross. About $700 on input costs now. That leaves $700 minus rent as profit. However, some are probably on prior multiple year leases so those could be getting good deals.
 
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rivalhawks

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Dude I got it straight from the Iowa state agricultural survey


ISU survey rates are WAY below the actual market. ISU puts out info to benefit the farmer mostly. It's a pretty small sample size. There's also lots of sweetheart deals out there. Your $350 probably isn't too far off from the average but ground selling for $26K/acre I'm assuming is 90+ CSR which is gonna bring $400+ easily. Lots of flex leases now too so how do you determine what the rent is in a survey released in June when you don't know what your final rent is until December. You could be getting $300 base rent on 3/1 but 40% of gross revenue. $7x200 = $1400 x .4 = $560 final cash rent.

Here's a good read on how inputs/rent and revenue can vary a lot year to year. 2021 was a killer year for farmers bc inputs and rent (if not on a flex lease) were cheap and prices went sky high. Now inputs are crazy high and rent is up so margins are much less.

 
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Pinehawk

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My father told me once about a farmer in the area who just kept buying up everything, and paying a premium. Someone asked him about it, and the farmer said he never intended to ever pay it off.
Just make the payments and let the price go up.
 
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HawkRCID

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26k an acre? That’s nuts!

I get they’re not making more but farm ground doesn’t seem like a good investment at these prices….not to mention how an aspiring farmer could even get into the game.
 

lucas80

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Damn. My inlaws sold their inheritance a few years ago for 8 grand. They shoulda waited.

Really not that far from this sale either. About 20 or 30 miles depending on where exactly it is.
So, stupid runs in both sides of your family, huh?
 
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Herkster5

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What is the CSR on this? Must be 90+ to bring that price. Guessing buyer owns land right next to it or very close as well as the other bidders. Those Dutch aren’t afraid of driving up the price.
91.7 average if I remember right, with a large portion being 95 CSR II. $286 a CSR II point is pretty damn high, really high. 4 years ago we were closer to $100-$115 a point in north central Iowa, but we are pushing closer to $200 a point now. Nothing like this though...
 

Herkster5

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Would be a heck of a deal for the farmer paying that with $7 corn. Maybe a base rent of $350 on a flex lease. $7 corn should be getting $500+ rent. 200 bushels = $1400/acre gross. About $700 on input costs now. That leaves $700 minus rent as profit. However, some are probably on prior multiple year leases so those could be getting good deals.
And if they aren't paying bonus's on a year like last year (this year has been rough, drought wise up there), they'll likely lose some of that ground. We have a very, very reasonable base rent across all our acres, and we paid a very, very handsome per acre bonus to each land lord. That helps keep the base rate set where it is, because they know we'll share in the good years, and not jack our rent in the bad years.