Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cornhusker Economics (March 2012)


Published by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics. Copyright © [2012] Board of Regents, University of Nebraska.


The 2012 UNL Nebraska Farm Real Estate Survey confirms what most people close to agriculture already knew – agricultural land values across the state have shot upward in recent months. Preliminary survey results show the state’s all-land average value as of February 1, 2012 to be at $2,410 per acre, 31 percent above the year-earlier level (Figure 1 and Table 1, on following pages). The annual gain, in both dollar amount and percentage, is the largest ever recorded in the 34-year history of the UNL land market survey series.

Cropland, particularly, showed pronounced value gains in every region of the state over the past year. In several areas of the state, values for some of the cropland classes rose 35 percent or more during the 12-month period. Clearly, a booming cash–grain economy in 2011 translated into spirited bidding for cropland. And at the same time that demand was robust, the amount of land for sale in any given local area was generally minimal. UNL survey reporters frequently commented that the land transfer market has been “so thin” (limited sales activity) that it is difficult to get a good reading on the market. In short, there are many "wannabe buyers" with few "wannabe sellers."