Significant Rise in Iowa Farmland Prices | Iowa Realtor’s Land Institute Survey

Sep 29, 2021

Jason J Smith

Jason J Smith

Auctioneer & Land Broker

Jason is an experienced farmland broker and auctioneer with extensive experience in farmland sales across this Midwest.  Jason has worked with hundreds of clients to create advantageous outcomes.  If you are selling land schedule a consultation with Jason by calling or using the calendar.

Phone: 515-537-6633

Average Farmland Prices in Iowa According to the Survey

The Realtors Land Institue breaks Iowa’s Farmland Prices down by quality.  While I have never seen any official designation of High, Medium and Low Quality Cropland one would tend to reason that breaking the CSR system into 1/3rds would define those classes.  Low Quality 0-33, Medium Quality 34 to 66 CSR2 and High Quality all farms 67 CSR2 and above.  The non-tillable pasture and Timber designations can be hard classes to seperate.  Most pastures have timber and most timber has open pasture so where a farm fits in those catagories can be as confusing to us as it is to you.  Its sort of an anomoly for any farm to be just one or the other.  If you are intersted in using these numbers as a general measure to help you understand the value of your farm and the area your farm is in it is good for that but please understand you can get the most accurate understanding by requesting a free customized land market analyisis from DreamDirt.

Average Iowa
Farmland Prices
By Region
High Quality
Crop Land
Medium Quality
Crop Land
Low Quality
Crop Land
Non - Tillable
Pasture Per Acre
Timber Per Acre Percent
6 Months
Sept March Sept March Sept March Sept March Sept March %
Central Iowa $13,217 $10,989 $9,601 $8,182 $6,479 $5,572 $3,422 $3,038 $3,119 $2,791 18.4%
East Central Iowa $14,261 $11,539 $10,748 $8,870 $7,079 $5,913 $3,758 $3,137 $3,387 $2,825 21.9%
North Central Iowa $12,528 $10,206 $9,631 $8,144 $6,885 $5,712 $3,407 $2,957 $2,890 $2,433 20.7%
Northeast Iowa $13,230 $10,750 $10,327 $8,568 $7,032 $5,659 $4,059 $3,518 $4,200 $3,568 22.5%
Northwest Iowa $13,691 $12,159 $11,023 $9,720 $8,133 $6,890 $4,215 $3,681 $3,767 $3,354 14.2%
South Central Iowa $7,972 $6,800 $5,944 $5,133 $4,409 $3,719 $3,367 $2,961 $3,378 $2,933 17.1%
Southeast Iowa $12,486 $10,675 $9,091 $7,458 $5,599 $4,856 $3,411 $3,073 $3,105 $2,659 18.2%
Southwest Iowa $10,022 $8,392 $8,172 $6,886 $6,069 $5,000 $3,875 $3,431 $3,106 $2,606 19.7%
West Central Iowa $12,235 $10,482 $9,301 $8,082 $6,844 $5,767 $3,994 $3,572 $3,456 $3,069 16.6%
State of Iowa $12,182 $10,222 $9,315 $7,894 $6,503 $5,454 $3,723 $3,263 $3,379 $2,915 18.8%

Iowa Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute Value Survey March to September 2021

Twice a year, the Iowa Chapter of the Realtors Land Institue does a survey of professionals in its memebership to determine the changes in farmland prices and estimates the deviation in land prices from the previous report.  The report is released every March and September.  This report measures the period of Iowa Land Prices from March to September 2021.  It is important to understand that this “survey” is not actual sale results and each participant responding to the survey may have different methods and opinions in their response.  The land value survey is a great tool for understanding the temperature of the market and while not exactly precise, it is the best measure of what is happening with Iowa land sales.

Below is the overall farmland values for the 9 crop reporting districts in Iowa with each showing a significant grain in farm real estate values.  This is even more significant when you consider for the period from September 2020 to March 2021 we also saw substantial gains.  For 2 reports in a row now we have seen jaw dropping numbers. That can’t continue for much longer.  If you are considering selling a farm it really is time to act.  We offer free customized farmland valuations to help you understand a more precise value of your farm. 

chart precent rise iowa land prices

Farmland Price Appreciation Past 12 Months in Iowa

The numbers above are some of the largest gains I have witnessed in my entire land sales career especially when you realize they only represent a 12 month period.  In May of 2021 I called the run up in farmland prices in 2021.  By then it was clear there would be significant appreciation this year.  Combined with the 6 months previous to measure a full 12 month period you can see that farmland values in Iowa have appreciated significantly. There is strength statewide in all 9 crop reporting districts but Northeast Iowa shows up in the lead at 31.1% gains.  North Central Iowa and East Central Iowa follow at 30.3% and 29.2% respectively. Southwest and Central Iowa nearly tie with 26.2% and 26.3%.  The lowest gains were 22.5% in Northwest Iowa which actually experienced the highest gains in the previous year.  We always see this cycle move from eastern to western Iowa, typically starting in Northwest Iowa and working east and like a ping pong ball it goes back and forth but tends to start in Northwest Iowa.  As such, if the the pattern continues we are likely at this point seeing Northwest Iowa nearing or starting to hit its plateau in land prices when the gains there are not outdoing the 3 crop reporting districts in eastern Iowa.    In this report, NW Iowa came in at less of an overall appreciation than all three eastern Iowa district.  History tells me things have done what they can there for the time being!  That said, there is a farmland auction near Boyden, Iowa on November 12th that I fully expect to set a new farmland price record in the state of Iowa when this 99 CSR2 farm sells and I’ll report on it when the time comes. I’ll let you hold me to that prediction!

chart 12 month rise in Iowa Farmland values

Crop Reporting District Price Performance for Farmland

For the period of Sept 2020 to Sept 2021 Farmland Prices in each district in Iowa have appreciated:

  • Northwest Iowa 22.5%
  • North Central Iowa 30.3%
  • Northeast Iowa 31.1%
  • West Central Iowa 24.8%
  • Central Iowa 26.2%
  • East Central Iowa 29.2%
  • Southwest Iowa 26.3%
  • South Central Iowa 23.3%
  • Southeast Iowa 24.7%


Request a Free Valuation for Your Farm or Land Property

Whether you’re ready to start the selling process, or even remotely curious, we will gladly provide you with a FREE Market Analysis! If you are in a position to sell land in the Midwest, we want to help you achieve the top of the market on your sale.

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