AGRICULTURE

North Dakota farmers becoming choosier with land purchases

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Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Real estate officials say farmers are becoming pickier when it comes to buying land in North Dakota.

Brian Mohr, area sales manager for Farmers National Co. in Garretson, South Dakota, told the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1WdNbOu) that more farmers are only buying high-quality, high-producing land.

Alan Butts with Pifer’s Auction & Realty said high-quality farmland remains in demand and the land market is still relatively strong in North Dakota. But he said lesser-quality farmland can be more difficult to sell and sales prices for pastureland have greatly reduced.

Butts contends the land market remains relatively strong, with values far above those four or five years ago.

“Fifteen years ago if you had told farmers we would see land values as high as they’ve been, they would have laughed you right out of the room,” he said.

Prices of farmland sold by Farmers National Co., which mostly includes property in the eastern half of North Dakota, were about $6,000 per acre this month, the company said. That’s down about $800 compared to the same time last year.

Properties listed by Butts are selling at 10 percent to 20 percent off the previous high, he said. In the Bismarck and Mandan area, he said pastureland goes for around $1,200 to $1,500 an acre on average, while good producing cropland goes for $2,200 to $2,700 per acre.

If crop prices remain low for several years, Butts said land prices would likely follow.