Ag land near Hosmer sold for $4,400 an acre

Farm Forum

Agricultural land prices continue to edge upward, not only in Brown County, but also in counties west of Aberdeen.

Two quarter sections of farmland in McPherson County sold for $4,400 an acre at an auction Tuesday, setting a new record for agricultural land sold in the county.

The 314 taxable acres of land sold is in Hillsview Township, northwest of Hosmer. The total price paid was about $1.38 million.

The previous record price for land in McPherson County was $3,900 an acre for land east of Long Lake purchased two months ago, said Susan Hoffman, McPherson County assessor.

Two other quarter-sections of land directly west of Hosmer in Edmunds County sold for $4,200 an acre at Tuesday’s auction. The total price paid was about $1.33 million.

The price-per-acre was not a record for Edmunds County, said Sandra Northrop, director of equalization in Edmunds County. The record for a tract of agricultural land sold without buildings in Edmunds County is $4,688-an-acre, she said. That land was north of Ipswich.

Neither the buyer of the first tract or the second tract at the auction agreed to be identified. Both were Hosmer-area farm families.

Farmland in Brown County usually sells for a higher price because of climate and soil conditions. The highest price ever paid for Brown County land – two tracts of cropland in the James River valley – was $13,000 an acre. That was in November 2012.

The $4,400-an-acre land in the Hosmer area shows that agricultural land is still increasing in value, said Merlin Worlie of Jark/Worlie Auction, who helped auction the land.

“Land sales have not gotten any weaker,” he said. “Ag land is still in demand.”

About 50 people attended the auction, which was held at the Eagles Club in Aberdeen. The seller of the land was the Leona Malsam Trust. John Malsam and Bob Malsom were the co-trustees. The Malsam family had the option of rejecting the sale price. The family approved the price in both sales.

All four quarter sections are under contract to be leased for the next three years. The rent is $206 per acre. The terms of the lease were non-negotiable, but transferred with the sale, Val Jark, auctioneer, announced at the sale.

While most of the acres sold had been farmed for many years, there were some acres that had been pasture that had been plowed for crops more recently. Those acres did not have Farm Service Agency crop data available, Jark said. The soil ratings on all the parcels of land were good, he said.

Hoffman said that those purchasing land in McPherson County in recent years have been local farm families. There have been few if any out-of-area buyers purchasing land as an investment.

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