- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin farmland’s value remained steady in 2016, unlike the rest of the Midwest.

Nearly every state in the region saw decreases to farmland values last year because of low commodity prices, Wisconsin Public Radio (https://bit.ly/2j0C6Xl) reported. Iowa’s land values fell for the third year in a row, an issue the state hasn’t encountered since the 1980s.

But Dennis Badtke, chief appraiser from Badgerland Financial, said Wisconsin land prices are surprisingly strong because people still have enough money and borrowing capacity.

“We’re looking at land values and are really surprised to see that land values have held as well as they have considering what’s happened to commodity prices,” Badtke said.

Farm appraiser Arlin Brannstrom said Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture industry makes it more resilient to the impact of low prices.

“Wisconsin is a little bit different than most of the rest of the Corn Belt in terms of the dependence on row crops only,” Brannstrom said. “We grow a lot of alfalfa crops, we have a lot of farms that are using livestock and are dependent on having enough acreage to dispose of their animal nutrients.”

He said the state could see land decrease in value this year as rental rates decline and higher interest rates make loans less attractive.

“A lot of the land that we see changing hands is financed by either commercial banks or farm credit associations and as those interest rates go up, it’s certainly going to put a little bit more pressure on the cash flow for new land acquisitions,” Brannstrom said.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, https://www.wpr.org

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