- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The cost of farmland is falling in Kansas after it skyrocketed in recent years, according to new numbers from a farm management company.

An acre of high-quality, irrigated land sold for an average of $5,000 in June 2015 in Kansas, down from $6,000 in in June 2014. Data about the 17-percent drop comes from Farmers National Company, which manages and sells farms in 24 states and compiles data on 18 of them, The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1SVlFEb ) reports.

It found the average selling price also fell in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota. The price was statistically unchanged in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas, and went up slightly in Missouri, Tennessee and Washington state.

Brock Thurman, Farmers National vice president and area sales manager for Kansas and Oklahoma, said lower commodity prices have caused farmers to focus on high-quality land, though he estimated demand is 10 to 15 percent lower than it was at its peak. While that still is relatively high demand for the best land, marginal pieces of ground aren’t attracting much interest, he said.

Prices for irrigated land in northeast Kansas ranged from $5,000 to $10,000, but an irrigated acre in western Kansas was worth only $3,300 to $5,000, according to the Farmers National report. Prices for non-irrigated land across the state ranged from $1,200 to $4,000, with lower prices in the west.

Mineral rights previously helped drive land prices up, but low prices for oil and gas have blunted that effect, he said.

“Western Kansas continues to struggle with lowering irrigation water levels but if the water is plentiful then the land will meet with strong demand and historically high values,” he said in a new release.

The Farmers National data shows higher prices than another report, perhaps reflecting its focus on high-quality land. Kansas State University’s agricultural economists program hasn’t yet compiled data for 2015, but it found an acre of irrigated land in Kansas sold for $5,195 on average in 2014 - lower than the $6,000 Farmers National reported.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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