Wisconsin farmland value steady as cropland prices drop

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Department of Agriculture data figures show that the value of farm real estate is up slightly in Wisconsin this year, but that the value of cropland is down.

Farm real estate includes the value of land and buildings, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The department's National Agricultural Statistics Service found that the average price per acre in Wisconsin is $5,320, a 2 percent increase from 2017.

The total value of the state's farmland and buildings was $74.9 billion in 2017, a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

The state's value of cropland, however, has fallen by 1 percent to $5,150 per acre. It's the first decline after five years of price increases.

Greg Bussler, Wisconsin statistician for NASS, said values are responding to low commodity prices and increased worries over exports.

"The leveling off or the slight decline is just the overall reflection that the ag economy has slowed way down and is not doing as well as the general economy in the U.S.," Bussler said.

But not all of Wisconsin's cropland has declined in price, said Dennis Badtke, regional appraisal manager for Compeer Financial in Fond du Lac. He said cropland in areas near large dairy farms has held steady or gone up in price, compared to areas that have more farmers growing cash crops

Concentrated animal feeding operations want cropland adjacent to their dairy operations to have fewer costs for trucking the manure and reduced risks of accidents, said Badtke.

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