U.S. farmland prices soared to record highs in the first quarter of 2012 fueled by strong crop prices and buoyant farm income, with the pace of sales strongest in the Plains but firm also in the Midwest Corn Belt, according to two Federal Reserve bank surveys released on Tuesday.
The value of nonirrigated cropland in the Plains, which stretches across big wheat, cattle and corn states, was up 25 percent from a year ago and irrigated farmland prices jumped 32 percent, the Kansas City Fed said.
For irrigated farmland, the year-to-year percentage increase was the largest in the 30-year history of the survey. Ranchland values, rich in grazing pasture, gained 16 percent, with high feed costs boosting demand from cattle ranchers, the Kansas City Fed's survey of 235 bankers stated.
"District farmland value gains accelerated in the first quarter even as record-high farmland values enticed more landowners to sell," the KC Fed said. "For the first time since the survey began in the late 1970s, the annual value of District cropland rose more than 20 percent for two consecutive years."
Net farm assets in the United States are expected to rise to more than $2.2 trillion in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For more, see: US farmland stays hot at record high prices-Fed surveys