The Ultimate Iowa Farmland Sellers Resource Guide and FAQ

by | Jul 1, 2022

Hi, I’m Jason Smith. I’m an auctioneer.  Not just an auctioneer but a farmland auctioneer. I help people market and sell farms and land.  I am also a licensed land broker.  The only thing I sell is farmland.  My wife Nicole and I created this Iowa farmland company to bring a safe place for sellers to get representation in selling farmland in Iowa.  Over 15 years have passed since then and we’ve sold over 1,000 parcels of land for various clients.  We’ve handled large and complex land transactions and many standard farmland estate sales.  Along the way, we’ve seen everything you can imagine.  We’ve built a vast array of resources that are important to land sellers.  As you can imagine on a daily basis, we answer the same questions.  We thought it might be most helpful to our potential clients to put those questions and resources all in one place!  We will continue to update this page with the latest information but you are always free to call or text us at 515-537-6633.

Auctioneer in Iowa Jason Smith
Farmland Auctioneers

Terms and Definitions Relating to Farmland Ownership and Sales

Real estate industry terminology can make the process of selling farmland confusing and frustrating.  Here are some of the terms you might hear and a description of what they mean.  These are the most common terms described in plain language.  If you have something you don’t understand reach out and I will help you.

Term Definition Term Definition
Acre An acre is a measurement of land.  It is about the size of a football field. Farmland Farmland becomes a meaningful term outside of its general description of land.  The Farm Service Agency uses the term farmland to mean all land excluding non taxable acres.  See Cropland.
Auction An auction is a method of marketing.  It is more than a 1 time event.  Auctions are competitive ascending bidding. They differ from a privately negotiated sale and put the seller in charge of setting all sale terms. Cropland Cropland is land where crop is grown. Farmland isn't necessarily. Cropland is a term used by the Farm Service Agency to define acres certified as producing a crop. These are the acres that will actually produce income.
Listing This is a term that is often use to refer to a method of privately negotiated sale of farmland. It is the opposite of an auction. In this method the buyer sets all sale terms and offers to the seller. Deed A deed is a legal document that transfers the property to its owner. It is recorded in the county recorders office. There are different kinds of deeds that impart different legal situations. Common deeds include General Warranty, Special Warranty, Bargain and Sale, Quitclaim, Deed of Trust, Reconveyance, Trustee's and Court Ordered.
Joint Tenants Joint tenants is a form of ownership where you jointly own a property and on the death of one owner their share passes to the surviving owner.  You would own property like this with your spouse, but it is highly unlikely and dangerous to own property like this with siblings or other non family. Probate Probate is a court supervised settlement of an estate.  A trust can help you avoid this process. Often when a person dies without a will or trust the court will appoint an "executor" to gather and value the assets in the estate.  Remaining debts will be settled and assets distributed to the heirs all in the eye of the courts. Probate is meant to prevent fraud and theft after a death.
Tenants in Common An extremely common type of ownership when you are inheriting family farmland. In this ownership you own an undivided interest in the property. In other words you can't point to "your acres". You have unity of possession with all other owners. This is also called fractional ownership. Executor A person appointed by the court to oversee the settlement of an estate of a person that died without a will or trust.
Trust Trusts are a simple way to transfer assets from one person to another.  Trusts help avoid probate and possibly avoid some taxes.  Trusts formed by somebody will appoint another person to "manage" the assets in the trust.  This manager is a "Trustee" which is different than a "beneficiary" or the person receiving the benefit of the trust. Estate An estate is the total, real and personal, property owned by an individual on their death.  This includes everything the person owned from household furnishing, real estate, to bank accounts, special rights, patents, copyrights, etc.
Auctioneer An auctioneer is a person that uses the auction method of marketing to dispose of an liquidate assets for other persons. Bidders Bidders are people that desire to purchase and place a bid on an asset that is offered for sale at an auction.
Online Only Auction An online only auction is an auction where the auction portion of the marketing campaign is held online with no other alternative ways to bid. CSR Corn Suitability Rating.  Also known as CSR2 which was the 1st recision.  CSR is a measurement that goes from 5-100.  Each soil is assigned a value and every farm is comprised of multiple soils.  A mathematical formula creates a "weighted average" of all the soils to produce a value between 5 and 100.  Initially created to equalize taxation CSR today can be an element of the properties market value.  The definition of CSR is "A measure of a farms ability to be intensely farmed over a long period of time". It should never be confused with "fertility"
Hybrid Auction Many auctioneers call this type of auction by different names. It is an auction where bidders bid in person OR online. The auction has 2 ways to bid and is synchronized by the auctioneers conducting the auction. Soil Fertility Soil fertility is a measure of the necessary elements in the soil for growing a crop.  CSR is often confused as soil fertility but has nothing to do with fertility.  Fertility is a measure of things like nitrogen, phosphorus, boron, and calcium.  
Live Auction A live auction is what you see as an "old fashioned" auction. The kind where the auctioneer conducts a live outcry of bids and people raise their hand to bid. This type of auction would be a hybrid auction is online bidding is added to it. In its most pure form, it has no online bidding. Soil Testing Soil testing is a process of collecting samples of soil on a farm and submitting them to a labratory for analysis of the crop nutrients, organic matter and/or microbes.
Absolute Auction An absolute auction is an auction where NO minimum is set or expected by the seller.  The seller offers the property to the pubic and agrees regardless of the final bid they will accept it with no argument.  This is a legally defined concept that must be adhered to or the buyer will have legal remedies to force a seller to perform. Land Investor This term is loosely used to describe a person that desires to buy land but is not a farmer.
Reserved Auction Most farmland sellers prefer to use a reserved auction. In this case they hold the right to say no to the final bid and deny a sale. Buyers have no legal recourse if a seller offers a property by reserved auction and then does not sell the property. Confirmed Auction This is used to describe a RESERVED auction that has achieved the sellers reserve. Absent any withdrawn bids the seller has confirmed they will accept the eventual high bid. This is different than an Absolute auction and has different legal ramifications.
Absentee Bid A person may place a bid with an auctioneer prior to an auction but not attend the auction. In this case the auctioneer would advance bidding at the same increment for this bidder as necessary to keep them in the lead, but only after other bidders have placed bids. Earnest Deposit An earnest deposit is a deposit placed with the auction company by the winning bidder to ensure their attendance at the closing table in the future. Earnest deposits are NOT refundable in our auctions at DreamDirt. If a buyer fails to close the earnest deposit forfeits to the seller.
Appraisal An appraisal is a formal evaluation of an asset to determine its fair market value, or its value on a particular date. Backdated appraisals are often known as "Date of Death" Appraisals and are common in estate situations. As-Is Often stated as "As-Is Where-Is" is an important element in many auctions where the seller offers the property as it is, where it is. This means they make no guarantee of anything and will not be financially responsible after the sale for anything. This is an important legal protection sellers enjoy using auctions. The where is is less important with real estate than in personal property auctions.

Average Farmland Prices in Iowa 2022

The data in this table is from the Iowa State University Land value survey released in December 2021.  The data was collected for the period September 2020 to September 2021.  That said, it is the only official data available during the 2022 crop year.  We can compensate for this by adjusting by appreciation percentage.  Think of this data as a picture in time.  If you imagine it as progress, it has progressed more since then.  We’ve experienced particularly high farmland price appreciation throughout 2021.  These figures already include the record 29% land price appreciation of 2021 but adjusting for 2022 price appreciation becomes a judgment call.  As of July 1, 2022, I feel confident to add 15% to these figures for a general market value.  That said, it is important to involve a professional in helping you value your farmland.  If a sale of your land is on the horizon contact us and we will provide you with a free market evaluation of your farmland.

County Name Average County CSR2 Average Price per acre of Farmland Average Price per CSR2
Adair County Iowa Farmland Prices 64 $7,159 $111.86
Adams County Iowa Farmland Prices 61.1 $6,276 $102.72
Allamakee County Iowa Farmland Prices 40.8 $7,338 $179.85
Appanoose County Iowa Farmland Prices 46.7 $5,116 $109.55
Audubon County Iowa Farmland Prices 69.3 $10,194 $147.10
Benton County Iowa Farmland Prices 78.9 $10,911 $138.29
Black Hawk County Iowa Farmland Prices 73.9 $11,757 $159.09
Boone County Iowa Farmland Prices 75.5 $11,177 $148.04
Bremer County Iowa Farmland Prices 75.5 $11,251 $149.02
Buchanan County Iowa Farmland Prices 75.8 $10,930 $144.20
Buena Vista County Iowa Farmland Prices 83.4 $12,222 $146.55
Butler County Iowa Farmland Prices 74.6 $10,422 $139.71
Calhoun County Iowa Farmland Prices 82.2 $11,897 $144.73
Carroll County Iowa Farmland Prices 76.5 $11,394 $148.94
Cass County Iowa Farmland Prices 69.5 $8,691 $125.05
Cedar County Iowa Farmland Prices 76.9 $11,187 $145.47
Cerro Gordo County Iowa Farmland Prices 74.6 $10,177 $136.42
Cherokee County Iowa Farmland Prices 82.2 $11,730 $142.70
Chickasaw County Iowa Farmland Prices 77.2 $10,003 $129.57
Clarke County Iowa Farmland Prices 47.2 $5,739 $121.59
Clay County Iowa Farmland Prices 79.9 $11,586 $145.01
Clayton County Iowa Farmland Prices 43.9 $8,911 $202.98
Clinton County Iowa Farmland Prices 63 $10,221 $162.24
Crawford County Iowa Farmland Prices 68.6 $10,835 $157.94
Dallas County Iowa Farmland Prices 76.6 $10,120 $132.11
Davis County Iowa Farmland Prices 46.7 $6,302 $134.95
Decatur County Iowa Farmland Prices 40.1 $5,062 $126.23
Delaware County Iowa Farmland Prices 65.1 $11,572 $177.76
Des Moines County Iowa Land Auction 67 $9,073 $135.42
Dickinson County Iowa Farmland Prices 79.9 $11,061 $138.44
Dubuque County Iowa Farmland Prices 49.2 $10,425 $211.89
Emmet County Iowa Farmland Prices 77.2 $11,180 $144.82
Fayette County Iowa Farmland Prices 68.2 $10,833 $158.84
Floyd County Iowa Farmland Prices 79.5 $9,916 $124.73
Franklin County Iowa Farmland Prices 79.4 $10,406 $131.06
Fremont County Iowa Farmland Prices 72.1 $8,147 $113.00
Greene County Iowa Farmland Prices 78.3 $10,603 $135.42
Grundy County Iowa Farmland Prices 86.9 $11,724 $134.91
Guthrie County Iowa Farmland Prices 61.4 $9,226 $150.26
Hamilton County Iowa Farmland Prices 79.1 $11,821 $149.44
Hancock County Iowa Farmland Prices 74.6 $10,390 $139.28
Hardin County Iowa Farmland Prices 79.5 $10,960 $137.86
Harrison County Iowa Farmland Prices 61.2 $9,560 $156.21
Henry County Iowa Farmland Prices 63.8 $8,369 $131.18
Howard County Iowa Farmland Prices 76.9 $9,168 $119.22
Humboldt County Iowa Farmland Prices 80.3 $11,506 $143.29
Ida County Iowa Farmland Prices 77.1 $11,210 $145.40
Iowa County Iowa Farmland Prices 62.5 $9,648 $154.37
Jackson County Iowa Farmland Prices 44 $9,449 $214.75
Jasper County Iowa Farmland Prices 68.5 $9,889 $144.36
Jefferson County Iowa Farmland Prices 61 $7,045 $115.49
Johnson County Iowa Farmland Prices 65 $11,118 $171.05
Jones County Iowa Farmland Prices 62.2 $10,298 $165.56
Keokuk County Iowa Farmland Prices 63 $8,197 $130.11
Kossuth County Iowa Farmland Prices 78.2 $8,197 $104.82
Lee County Iowa Farmland Prices 52.3 $8,499 $162.50
Linn County Iowa Farmland Prices 68.1 $11,560 $169.75
Louisa County Iowa Farmland Prices 63.7 $9,724 $152.65
Lucas County Iowa Farmland Prices 43.8 $5,340 $121.92
Lyon County Iowa Farmland Prices 75.1 $12,907 $171.86
Madison County Iowa Farmland Prices 60.8 $7,839 $128.93
Mahaska County Iowa Farmland Prices 68.2 $8,522 $124.96
Marion County Iowa Farmland Prices 59.7 $8,669 $145.21
Marshall County Iowa Farmland Prices 75.7 $10,174 $134.40
Mills County Iowa Farmland Prices 71.8 $8,966 $124.87
Mitchell County Iowa Farmland Prices 80.9 $10,422 $128.83
Monona County Iowa Farmland Prices 59.1 $9,033 $152.84
Monroe County Iowa Farmland Prices 48.3 $6,484 $134.24
Montgomery County Iowa Farmland Prices 70.3 $7,484 $106.46
Muscatine County Iowa Farmland Prices 64.9 $10,258 $158.06
O’Brien County Iowa Farmland Prices 91.4 $13,713 $150.03
Osceola County Iowa Farmland Prices 86.3 $11,911 $138.02
Page County Iowa Farmland Prices 70.6 $6,824 $96.66
Palo Alto County Iowa Farmland Prices 77 $11,195 $145.39
Plymouth County Iowa Farmland Prices 73.5 $12,416 $168.93
Pocahontas County Iowa Farmland Prices 81.2 $11,686 $143.92
Polk County Iowa Farmland Prices 70.7 $10,373 $146.72
Pottawattamie County Iowa Farmland Prices 68.4 $10,019 $146.48
Poweshiek County Iowa Farmland Prices 67.9 $9,593 $141.28
Ringgold County Iowa Farmland Prices 50.2 $5,745 $114.44
Sac County Iowa Farmland Prices 82.8 $11,987 $144.77
Scott County Iowa Farmland Prices 72.4 $13,852 $191.33
Shelby County Iowa Farmland Prices 69.6 $10,237 $147.08
Sioux County Iowa Farmland Prices 85.3 $13,701 $160.62
Story County Iowa Farmland Prices 80.2 $11,487 $143.23
Tama County Iowa Farmland Prices 70.3 $10,194 $145.01
Taylor County Iowa Farmland Prices 58.5 $5,756 $98.39
Union County Iowa Farmland Prices 63.2 $6,510 $103.01
Van Buren County Iowa Farmland Prices 49 $6,745 $137.65
Wapello County Iowa Farmland Prices 56.6 $6,923 $122.31
Warren County Iowa Farmland Prices 57.3 $9,021 $157.43
Washington County Iowa Farmland Prices 68 $10,332 $151.94
Wayne County Iowa Farmland Prices 50.7 $5,407 $106.65
Webster County Iowa Farmland Prices 75.1 $11,323 $150.77
Winnebago County Iowa Farmland Prices 72.9 $9,786 $134.24
Winneshiek County Iowa Farmland Prices 59.2 $9,467 $159.92
Woodbury County Iowa Farmland Prices 61.4 $9,318 $151.76
Worth County Iowa Farmland Prices 73.8 $9,587 $129.91
Wright County Iowa Farmland Prices 78.6 $11,535 $146.76

Calculating the Value of Iowa Farmland by CSR2

We often speak in general terms about “Dollars per CSR Point” which is a really simple way of understanding the value of farmland.  First of all, CSR is the Corn Suitability Rating. Every farm has one.  Currently, we are on the CSR2 ratings which was an update from the original CSR.  CSR is a measure of a farm’s ability to be intensively farmed over a long period of time.  It has nothing to do with fertility.

Every farm has a CSR2 rating.  Let’s work on a few examples.  Let’s say you have a farm that is an 80 CSR2 rating.  You look at our data and see that farms in your county are averaging $151 per CSR point.  The math looks like this.  Take 80 CSR2 X $151 per point and you can learn that your farm is worth $12,080 according to the averages.  It is a great place to start and set expectations.

To reverse this, you might also learn that a farm sold for $9,500 per acre.  You could learn that the CSR2 was 67.  Take $9,500 per acre divided by 67 CSR and the farm sold for $141.79 per point.  Now if you own a farm in the same area and it has a 76 CSR2 rating you can use the $141.79 to estimate the value of your farm.  76 CSR2 X $141.79 and see your farm is worth $10,776 per acre compared to that sale.  It is not an exact science but it puts you most times within 10% of the truth.

Iowa Farmland Prices by County

DreamDirt thoroughly collects all farmland auction results across the state and provides them free to everybody. Click on the county in the Iowa map below that you want to examine.  Each page will list the particular details and financial figures for that county.

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Iowa Farmland Prices by District Region

chart of regional farmland prices in iowa
Region Average Farmland Value Price Appreciation
from 2020 to 2021
Value Rank
Northwest Iowa $12,164 27.6% 1
North Central Iowa $10,664 34.5% 4
Northeast Iowa $9,958 32.3% 6
West Central Iowa $10,461 33.1% 5
Central Iowa $10,744 26.6% 3
East Central Iowa $11,051 29.6% 2
Southwest Iowa $7,582 24.0% 7
South Central Iowa $6,035 29.6% 9
Southeast Iowa $8,451 21.9% 8
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We sold our real estate using DreamDirt’s Online Auction and in the end the high bid was higher than we would have dreamed of getting!

~ Barb Hocker, Land Seller

Lee County, Iowa

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Jason is knowledgeable and will guide you through the entire process.  He and his team are professional and friendly.  I was most impressed with how responsive they are! The marketing resulted in a great auctions for us and I would recommend them to you!

~ Kris Whetstone, Farmland Seller

Guthrie County, Iowa

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When I inherited my family farm I contacted Jason to help sell it.  He was so knowledgable and the marketing for our farm was outstanding! On Auction day DreamDirt sold the farm for way more than I ever thought it would sell for!

~ Chad Schneider, Farmland Seller

Plymouth County, Iowa

Iowa Farm Real Estate Search Websites

All 99 County Assessors in Iowa provide online land records that allow you as a landowner some important research opportunities.  Most of the websites list recent farmland sale prices, dates of sale, CSR2 ratings, taxes and assessments, property boundaries, acreage figures, improvement details, and maps or diagrams of each property.  Choose the county your land is located in and find your farmland. If you need help let us know!

A-F Counties F-M Counties M-W Counties
Adair County Iowa Real Estate Search Floyd County Iowa Real Estate Search Monona County Iowa Real Estate Search
Adams County Iowa Real Estate Search Franklin County Iowa Real Estate Search Monroe County Iowa Real Estate Search
Allamakee County Iowa Real Estate Search Fremont County Iowa Real Estate Search Montgomery County Iowa Real Estate Search
Appanoose County Iowa Real Estate Search Greene County Iowa Real Estate Search Muscatine County Iowa Real Estate Search
Audubon County Iowa Real Estate Search Grundy County Iowa Real Estate Search O’Brien County Iowa Real Estate Search
Benton County Iowa Real Estate Search Guthrie County Iowa Real Estate Search Osceola County Iowa Real Estate Search
Black Hawk County Iowa Real Estate Search Hamilton County Iowa Real Estate Search Page County Iowa Real Estate Search
Boone County Iowa Real Estate Search Hancock County Iowa Real Estate Search Palo Alto County Iowa Real Estate Search
Bremer County Iowa Real Estate Search Hardin County Iowa Real Estate Search Plymouth County Iowa Real Estate Search
Buchanan County Iowa Real Estate Search Harrison County Iowa Real Estate Search Pocahontas County Iowa Real Estate Search
Buena Vista County Iowa Real Estate Search Henry County Iowa Real Estate Search Polk County Iowa Real Estate Search
Butler County Iowa Real Estate Search Howard County Iowa Real Estate Search Pottawattamie County Iowa Real Estate Search
Calhoun County Iowa Real Estate Search Humboldt County Iowa Real Estate Search Poweshiek County Iowa Real Estate Search
Carroll County Iowa Real Estate Search Ida County Iowa Real Estate Search Ringgold County Iowa Real Estate Search
Cass County Iowa Real Estate Search Iowa County Iowa Real Estate Search Sac County Iowa Real Estate Search
Cedar County Iowa Real Estate Search Jackson County Iowa Real Estate Search Scott County Iowa Real Estate Search
Cerro Gordo County Iowa Real Estate Search Jasper County Iowa Real Estate Search Shelby County Iowa Real Estate Search
Cherokee County Iowa Real Estate Search Jefferson County Iowa Real Estate Search Sioux County Iowa Real Estate Search
Chickasaw County Iowa Real Estate Search Johnson County Iowa Real Estate Search Story County Iowa Real Estate Search
Clarke County Iowa Real Estate Search Jones County Iowa Real Estate Search Tama County Iowa Real Estate Search
Clay County Iowa Real Estate Search Keokuk County Iowa Real Estate Search Taylor County Iowa Real Estate Search
Clayton County Iowa Real Estate Search Kossuth County Iowa Real Estate Search Union County Iowa Real Estate Search
Clinton County Iowa Real Estate Search Lee County Iowa Real Estate Search Van Buren County Iowa Real Estate Search
Crawford County Iowa Real Estate Search Linn County Iowa Real Estate Search Wapello County Iowa Real Estate Search
Dallas County Iowa Real Estate Search Louisa County Iowa Real Estate Search Warren County Iowa Real Estate Search
Davis County Iowa Real Estate Search Lucas County Iowa Real Estate Search Washington County Iowa Real Estate Search
Decatur County Iowa Real Estate Search Lyon County Iowa Real Estate Search Wayne County Iowa Real Estate Search
Delaware County Iowa Real Estate Search Madison County Iowa Real Estate Search Webster County Iowa Real Estate Search
Des Moines County Iowa Land Auction Mahaska County Iowa Real Estate Search Winnebago County Iowa Real Estate Search
Dickinson County Iowa Real Estate Search Marion County Iowa Real Estate Search Winneshiek County Iowa Real Estate Search
Dubuque County Iowa Real Estate Search Marshall County Iowa Real Estate Search Woodbury County Iowa Real Estate Search
Emmet County Iowa Real Estate Search Mills County Iowa Real Estate Search Worth County Iowa Real Estate Search
Fayette County Iowa Real Estate Search Mitchell County Iowa Real Estate Search Wright County Iowa Real Estate Search

How Much Does Farmland Rent For Per Acre in Iowa?

There a different ways to calculate farmland cash rental rates in Iowa.  We have included the base data from Iowa State University here.  This data is NOT derived from actual farmland rental contracts in Iowa. Rather it is collected using a “survey” in order to establish a value for each county in Iowa.  It is important to note that survey respondents are under no obligation to use actual figures.  Further, survey respondents could have a financial stake in the numbers being low or high.  It is my experience that these numbers tend to be low.  There are at least two reasons for that.

First, while rents move in step with land prices which follow commodity prices you end up with rental prices being 3rd in line.  The rental rates survey comes out in the early part of the year after the land value survey has come out in the late part of the year.  The land value survey comes at the end of the crop season and the rental survey comes at the start of the next season.  You end up with commodity prices moving, then land values increasing and as a result, land rents go up.  

It’s hard to look at land values and rents in any of the surveys and compare them side by side.  As a landowner, you are likely doing yourself a disservice.  You will find that most times when you negotiate with a tenant on farmland rental rates, they will quote this survey.  That might be a clue that the information is advantageous.  We conduct farmland cash rent auctions in Iowa and other states multiple times a year and we find our results tend to be about 30-40% above the figures in this chart.

How do I Calculate Farmland Cash Rent in Iowa

Farmland cash rents are typically based on the value of the land which is based on the quality of the land.  Yield isn’t always a function of the quality of the land but is expected to be.  Differences in farming practices, weather, and pests can sometimes throw that rule off.  That said there are ways to break down the value of the farmland rent.

  • Based on the value of the land.  Typically, this is a figure that ranges from 2.5% to 3.5% of the actual value of the farmland.  The trick is knowing the value of your land, it changes every year.  You can always check in with DreamDirt, we post regular articles on our Farmland Sales Blog.  This calculation might look like this $14,500 value per acre X .025 (2.5%) = $362.50 per acre annual rent
  • Based on the Crop Yield.  You can use the USDA’s NASS data for your county to determine the average corn or soybean yield or even history from your farm to determine a rental factor.  This calculation might look like this 219 Bushel County Average X $1.42 per bushel = $310.98 per acre annual rent
  • Based on Soil Productivity.  In Iowa, we use CSR2 ratings to determine the quality of the land.  Each farm is assigned a CSR2 rating known as a “weighted average” of all of the soils on it.  This calculation might look like this 75 CSR2 X $3.12 per CSR2 Point = $234 per acre annual cash rent.

A few important considerations when renting a farm to somebody.

  • Will your lease be written or verbal?  If it’s verbal it is a 1-year lease that AUTOMATICALLY renews annually unless you notify the tenant IN WRITING prior to September 1st.
  • You can always consider flex options, that will allow you to share in any upside during good years.  The flip side of that is, that you share in the pain of worse years.
  • Multi-year rental leases typically get you the best tenants.  It gets your farm the best treatment.  The cash rent does not have to be the same every year.  I’d suggest using an escalator stated as a percentage of the agreed-upon amount.  The tenant gets a multi-year lease.  You know your income will grow annually.
  • When renting a farm make sure all expenses are covered in the agreement.  If there is electric service to the property who will pay for it?  If repairs need to be made who is responsible?  If there are structures on the property such as machine sheds, grain bins, or homes who will maintain them.  Are they included in the lease?
  • Who will maintain or be financially responsible for access?  Tubes?  Roads?  Tile?  Fences?
  • Will the tenant be allowed to remove crop residue in the final year of the agreement?  Typically, this isn’t allowed.  If you do allow it, realize it may hurt the value of your future rental agreement as the new incoming tenant will need to compensate with additional fertilizer.
  • Will you be given access to yield maps, and fertilizer application records?
  • Are there government programs on the farm?  Who will get the income from them?
  • Are hunting rights included in the lease?  Is hunting prohibited use of the property?  If it is allowed who is liable and responsible for accidents?
  • Who is required to carry insurance and how much insurance?
  • Is the tenant allowed to cut and sell timber from the property?  Often timber is a separate crop but not covered in farmland rental agreements.
  • What happens if cash rent payments are not made on time?

 

County Average
County
CSR2
Average
Cropland
CSR2
Average
County
Farmland
Rent
Highest Mid Lowest Rent
Per
Bushel
Corn
Average
Rent
per
CSR2
Adair County Average Farmland Rents 64 79 $213 $241 $212 $186 $1.27 $2.70
Adams County Average Farmland Rents 61.1 79 $249 $284 $248 $214 $1.42 $3.15
Allamakee County Average Farmland Rents 40.8 76 225 $264 $214 $196 $1.16 2.96
Appanoose County Average Farmland Rents 46.7 70 $184 $218 $176 $158 $1.12 $2.63
Audubon County Average Farmland Rents 69.3 77 $276 $322 $279 $228 $1.39 $3.58
Benton County Average Farmland Rents 78.9 86 $266 $301 $270 $226 $1.35 $3.09
Black Hawk County Average Farmland Rents 73.9 86 $263 $317 $263 $210 $1.34 $3.06
Boone County Average Farmland Rents 75.5 85 $262 $297 $257 $232 $1.38 $3.08
Bremer County Average Farmland Rents 75.5 84 $291 $344 $290 $239 $1.42 $3.46
Buchanan County Average Farmland Rents 75.8 83 $275 $305 $275 $245 $1.32 $3.31
Buena Vista County Average Farmland Rents 83.4 86 $265 $303 $263 $230 $1.38 $3.08
Butler County Average Farmland Rents 74.6 80 $293 $336 $297 $247 $1.42 $3.66
Calhoun County Average Farmland Rents 82.2 84 $240 $278 $238 $203 $1.24 $2.86
Carroll County Average Farmland Rents 76.5 80 $272 $312 $275 $231 $1.35 $3.40
Cass County Average Farmland Rents 69.5 79 $242 $272 $243 $213 $1.26 $3.06
Cedar County Average Farmland Rents 76.9 86 $251 $288 $249 $215 $1.26 $2.92
Cerro Gordo County Average Farmland Rents 74.6 79 $254 $286 $251 $224 $1.31 $3.22
Cherokee County Average Farmland Rents 82.2 90 $305 $344 $302 $296 $1.50 $3.39
Chickasaw County Average Farmland Rents 77.2 83 $284 $342 $285 $225 $1.43 $3.42
Clarke County Average Farmland Rents 47.2 77 $217 $250 $226 $176 $1.36 $2.82
Clay County Average Farmland Rents 79.9 86 $253 $300 $256 $202 $1.38 $2.94
Clayton County Average Farmland Rents 43.9 68 $267 $325 $265 $212 $1.34 $3.93
Clinton County Average Farmland Rents 63 74 $260 $293 $261 $227 $1.29 $3.51
Crawford County Average Farmland Rents 68.6 73 $293 $348 $282 $249 $1.37 $4.01
Dallas County Average Farmland Rents 76.6 88 $267 $302 $266 $234 $1.48 $3.03
Davis County Average Farmland Rents 46.7 70 $170 $202 $168 $139 $1.15 $2.43
Decatur County Average Farmland Rents 40.1 75 $163 $191 $167 $131 $0.98 $2.17
Delaware County Average Farmland Rents 65.1 77 $321 $374 $320 $269 $1.52 $4.17
Des Moines County Iowa Land Auction 67 84 $253 $306 $252 $201 $1.32 $3.01
Dickinson County Average Farmland Rents 79.9 87 $230 $264 $226 $201 $1.30 $2.64
Dubuque County Average Farmland Rents 49.2 69 $324 $368 $339 $266 $1.53 $4.70
Emmet County Average Farmland Rents 77.2 81 $243 $278 $248 $202 $1.32 $3.00
Fayette County Average Farmland Rents 68.2 81 $287 $323 $288 $252 $1.44 $3.54
Floyd County Average Farmland Rents 79.5 83 $232 $261 $233 $202 $1.18 $2.80
Franklin County Average Farmland Rents 79.4 81 $270 $309 $270 $231 $1.36 $3.33
Fremont County Average Farmland Rents 72.1 80 $222 $256 $221 $189 $1.14 $2.78
Greene County Average Farmland Rents 78.3 82 $259 $288 $262 $226 $1.32 $3.16
Grundy County Average Farmland Rents 86.9 88 $300 $338 $301 $262 $1.44 $3.41
Guthrie County Average Farmland Rents 61.4 83 $247 $283 $249 $210 $1.29 $2.98
Hamilton County Average Farmland Rents 79.1 80 $248 $285 $245 $213 $1.33 $3.10
Hancock County Average Farmland Rents 74.6 76 $257 $300 $251 $219 $1.31 $3.38
Hardin County Average Farmland Rents 79.5 84 $269 $315 $267 $226 $1.37 $3.20
Harrison County Average Farmland Rents 61.2 73 $283 $337 $280 $233 $1.55 $3.88
Henry County Average Farmland Rents 63.8 81 $252 $294 $249 $214 $1.42 $3.11
Howard County Average Farmland Rents 76.9 83 $252 $284 $258 $213 $1.29 $3.04
Humboldt County Average Farmland Rents 80.3 81 $262 $306 $267 $214 $1.37 $3.23
Ida County Average Farmland Rents 77.1 81 $296 $337 $293 $259 $1.38 $3.65
Iowa County Average Farmland Rents 62.5 79 $245 $273 $259 $203 $1.27 $3.10
Jackson County Average Farmland Rents 44 67 $267 $317 $268 $218 $1.38 $3.99
Jasper County Average Farmland Rents 68.5 80 $280 $316 $276 $248 $1.31 $3.50
Jefferson County Average Farmland Rents 61 79 $253 $314 $249 $195 $1.47 $3.20
Johnson County Average Farmland Rents 65 85 $243 $294 $238 $197 $1.27 $2.86
Jones County Average Farmland Rents 62.2 77 $285 $330 $286 $238 $1.43 $3.70
Keokuk County Average Farmland Rents 63 80 $232 $295 $218 $181 $1.30 $2.90
Kossuth County Average Farmland Rents 78.2 79 $267 $301 $274 $227 $1.38 $3.38
Lee County Average Farmland Rents 52.3 75 $284 $329 $279 $244 $1.60 $3.79
Linn County Average Farmland Rents 68.1 87 $280 $328 $268 $245 $1.37 $3.22
Louisa County Average Farmland Rents 63.7 80 $236 $280 $234 $193 $1.23 $2.95
Lucas County Average Farmland Rents 43.8 73 $203 $248 $202 $159 $1.28 $2.78
Lyon County Average Farmland Rents 75.1 80 $294 $338 $280 $263 $1.45 $3.68
Madison County Average Farmland Rents 60.8 86 $214 $254 $210 $179 $1.21 $2.49
Mahaska County Average Farmland Rents 68.2 81 $218 $267 $213 $174 $1.14 $2.69
Marion County Average Farmland Rents 59.7 80 $238 $279 $243 $193 $1.27 $2.98
Marshall County Average Farmland Rents 75.7 82 $286 $327 $289 $241 $1.29 $3.49
Mills County Average Farmland Rents 71.8 82 $272 $312 $268 $236 $1.38 $3.32
Mitchell County Average Farmland Rents 80.9 83 $264 $303 $260 $228 $1.31 $3.18
Monona County Average Farmland Rents 59.1 71 $289 $342 $282 $243 $1.51 $4.07
Monroe County Average Farmland Rents 48.3 82 $174 $213 $171 $139 $1.06 $2.12
Montgomery County Average Farmland Rents 70.3 79 $245 $278 $250 $207 $1.24 $3.10
Muscatine County Average Farmland Rents 64.9 83 $248 $295 $250 $198 $1.28 $2.99
O’Brien County Average Farmland Rents 91.4 94 $283 $324 $276 $249 $1.37 $3.01
Osceola County Average Farmland Rents 86.3 86 $274 $325 $281 $215 $1.41 $3.19
Page County Average Farmland Rents 70.6 80 $222 $256 $221 $189 $1.14 $2.78
Palo Alto County Average Farmland Rents 77 82 $258 $288 $257 $228 $1.39 $3.15
Plymouth County Average Farmland Rents 73.5 82 $274 $308 $268 $246 $1.34 $3.34
Pocahontas County Average Farmland Rents 81.2 82 $255 $284 $252 $228 $1.32 $3.11
Polk County Average Farmland Rents 70.7 89 $256 $298 $250 $220 $1.35 $2.88
Pottawattamie County Average Farmland Rents 68.4 79 $263 $292 $266 $231 $1.32 $3.33
Poweshiek County Average Farmland Rents 67.9 79 $256 $294 $259 $217 $1.31 $3.24
Ringgold County Average Farmland Rents 50.2 76 $208 $246 $205 $172 $1.27 $2.74
Sac County Average Farmland Rents 82.8 86 $284 $312 $284 $255 $1.39 $3.30
Scott County Average Farmland Rents 72.4 89 $310 $353 $311 $265 $1.53 $3.48
Shelby County Average Farmland Rents 69.6 72 $276 $313 $274 $241 $1.37 $3.83
Sioux County Average Farmland Rents 85.3 88 $313 $347 $310 $281 $1.49 $3.56
Story County Average Farmland Rents 80.2 86 $275 $309 $272 $245 $1.48 $3.20
Tama County Average Farmland Rents 70.3 85 $282 $328 $285 $234 $1.41 $3.32
Taylor County Average Farmland Rents 58.5 81 $236 $272 $229 $208 $1.39 $2.91
Union County Average Farmland Rents 63.2 85 $213 $260 $209 $170 $1.27 $2.51
Van Buren County Average Farmland Rents 49 73 $212 $267 $210 $159 $1.33 $2.90
Wapello County Average Farmland Rents 56.6 81 $241 $300 $235 $188 $1.42 $2.98
Warren County Average Farmland Rents 57.3 85 $215 $245 $212 $188 $1.25 $2.53
Washington County Average Farmland Rents 68 82 $287 $339 $283 $239 $1.44 $3.50
Wayne County Average Farmland Rents 50.7 70 $184 $218 $176 $158 $1.12 $2.63
Webster County Average Farmland Rents 75.1 78 $273 $298 $278 $244 $1.39 $3.50
Winnebago County Average Farmland Rents 72.9 74 $255 $231 $251 $225 $1.28 $3.45
Winneshiek County Average Farmland Rents 59.2 77 $272 $320 $264 $233 $1.39 $3.53
Woodbury County Average Farmland Rents 61.4 73 $300 $348 $295 $257 $1.45 $4.11
Worth County Average Farmland Rents 73.8 77 $245 $268 $247 $218 $1.24 $3.18
Wright County Average Farmland Rents 78.6 79 $270 $310 $266 $235 $1.40 $3.42

Frequently Asked Questions from Land and Farm Sellers

This is a personal decision you have to decide based on your own situation.  It is always disappointing to the local neighborhood when they did not get an opportunity to purchase any farm. The question is better started “Am I obligated to allow my tenant first right to buy the farm” and the answer is NO.  You are under no obligation at all and in almost 100% of cases you will achieve more money by selling at auction where the tenant can still bid to buy the farm.  Tenants can often put significant pressure on a family to let them have first shot and often at a discount that you may not even realize.  You will need to consider your objective and obligations.  Are you representing a family with different heirs?  Is everybody entitled to full market value of the farm?  Are the neighbors entitled to an opportunity to also purchase the farm?  Understand that when you have had a tenant you have had a business relationship.  You provide real estate they have used to make a profit and in exchange made a rent payment to you.  We understand that you likely formed a relationship and it can be used against you if you let it.  If you consider your own objections and obligations you will come up with the right answer for you.  We are glad to talk to you about these issues and the complexity of it or even assist you in moving forward.

Links of Interest to Farmland Owners

Subject Link Publish Date Source
Farmland Ownership 60% of Iowa Farmland Owners don't farm;1/3rd have no ag experience June 2018 Des Moines Register
Farmland Ownership Who Owns and Rents Iowa's Farmland Dec 2015 Iowa State University
Farmland Ownership Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey 1982-2017 35 Year Perspective 2017 Iowa State University
Farming Demographics Age of Iowa Farmland owners continues to rise 2018 Wallaces Farmer
Farmland Values Iowa Farmland Values Soar June 2022 June 2022 Farm Progress
Farm Taxation Iowa Farmland Owners Could See Tax Increases Sept 2021 Iowa Bankers
Farm Taxation The Tax Implications of the American Families Plan on Iowa Farmland Owners August 2021 Iowa State University
Farmland Values Iowa Farmland Values Rise Year over Year Nov 2017 Quad-City Times
Farmland Ownership Is Bill Gates Your Farming Neighbor? March 2021 Farm Futures
Legal Iowa Code: Restrictions on Agricultural Land Holdings NA State of Iowa
Legal Analysis Realization of the American Dream by Foreign Investors
Alien Agricultural Land Ownership in Iowa
Mar 2017 University of Iowa
Foreign Investment As Foreign Investment in US Farmland Grows, Efforts to Ban and Limit June 2019 Iowa Watch
Foreign Investment International Land Grabbing: How Iowa Anti-Corporate Farmland and Alien
Landowner Laws can Decrease the Practice in Developing Countries
Sept 2015 Drake University
Foreign Investment Foreign Purchases of US Agricultural Land: Facts, Figures and an Assessment Sept 2021 Center for Strategic
International Studies
Foreign Investment Foreign Holdings of US Agricultural Land Dec 2019 Farm Service Agency
Property Law Ten Basic Steps to Understanding the Principles of Iowa Property Law NA Drake University
Farmland Ownership Who Owns the Farmland Nov 2018 Practical Farmers
Government Understanding the Iowa Auditors Role in Real Estate NA Iowa State Association
of County Auditors
Research Iowa Land Records NA NA
Research Vintage Aerial - Old Farm Aerial Photos NA Vintage Aerial
Research Iowa Geographic Map Server NA Iowa State University
Research Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs - Iowa History Search NA IDCA

Iowa Farmland Real Estate and Auction Company

I’m always happy to help farmland sellers understand their assets.  Our goal with DreamDirt was to provide a safe place for sellers to seek accurate information and learn about the process of selling farmland.  We have helped thousands of clients sell assets and overwhelmingly our clients love our process.  DreamDirt is different.  We take our clients’ interests very seriously and we aren’t shy to admit when it comes to maximizing the value of their property, we will do absolutely everything we can.  If you are selling farmland, we offer a myriad of services and options to help you deal with your own situation in the way that best fits you. From our live in-person, auctions, private listings, online auctions, or consultations our team is sharp.  They always strive to achieve the best possible outcome 100% of the time.  We’d love to hear from you and have an opportunity to earn your business.

auctioneer with land for sale sign
Iowa Land Prices September 17th – 23rd, 2022

Iowa Land Prices September 17th – 23rd, 2022

Iowa Farmland Prices September 17th - 23rd, 2022 There was a total of 29 tillable farmland auctions that happened this week in Iowa. A total of 4,135.82 acres were sold. The average price per acre for the 29 auctions is $14,031/acre and $176.64/CSR2 point. Learn more...

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Iowa Land Prices Auction Results September 3rd – 9th, 2022

Iowa Land Prices Auction Results September 3rd – 9th, 2022

Iowa Farmland Prices September 3rd - 9th, 2022 There was a total of 18 tillable farmland auctions that happened this week in Iowa. A total of 2,511.96 acres were sold. The average price per acre for the 18 auctions is $11,831/acre and $155.19/CSR2 point. Top Selling...

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