New Websites Look at Farmland Values, But Some See Limitations

Des Moines Register writer Donnelle Eller reported recently that, “Iowa farmland is the state’s biggest asset, worth an estimated $215 billion.

But getting information on buying, selling or renting farmland is a lot harder than the handful of clicks that let you get a wealth of home values on the internet.

“Now, new websites are popping up to provide information about Iowa ag land values, based on data such as recent sales, soil composition and productivity.”

Ms. Eller stated that, “Among those with Iowa ties: What’s My Farm Worth? by Peoples Co., California-based AcreValue and Terva, a startup created by an Iowa State University student.”

The Register article noted that, “Steve Bruere, president of Peoples Co., a Clive farmland broker and management business, wanted to look at how the company could use technology to better help Iowa farmers value their land.

“It launched What’s My Farm Worth? more than a year ago, building on profitability data developed by partner AgSolver. The Ames company helps farmers use detailed data to determine their most and least profitable acres to make better management decisions.”

The article added that, “Now, most farmland value data is based on surveys, such as reports from Iowa State University and the Iowa Chapter Realtors Land Institute.

“What’s My Farm Worth?, a free service, calculates a value based on a five-year corn price, average yield by county and soil type, rental value and other factors.”

“The farmland values can be used for sales, but it also can be helpful for farmers and landowners negotiating farmland rents,” the Register article said.

Nonetheless, recall that a BartellPowell update earlier this month pointed to a DTN article that discussed some of the potential issues associated with these Online programs: “Another problem which is hard for computers to differentiate are nuances which can affect land values significantly, [Dennis Reyman, an accredited appraiser in Storm Lake, Iowa] adds. ‘Since land rarely trades hands, it takes a long view of sales history and neighborhood influences to understand these things. The human appraiser not only uses his eyes but also his ears to know how recent economics might be affecting demand in the neighborhood.”

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