Farm Land Value Reports Confusing Buyers & Sellers

The USDA just released their land values summary for 2016 > USDA Land Survey and some of the numbers are a bit surprising, at least relative to other surveys we’ve recently seen, e.g., the Indiana Land Values report published by Purdue University > Indiana Land Value Survey.  Both groups used the June ’15 to June ’16 time period, but the Purdue report suggested that values were down ~ 8.5 % on average while USDA said IN “cropland” prices were steady.  I may be biased (Go Boilers), but I think the Purdue numbers better reflect the marketplace.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how the two results can be so different (note – the Illinois and Iowa USDA numbers were also just as confounding as what was reported in Indiana). The groups do have slightly different methods for collecting the data, but all the survey recipients are assumed to have some knowledge of price trends in their area. I hate to sound cynical, but if the bean-counters in Washington can’t be more accurate with their figures, then they should consider saving the taxpayer’s money and stop publishing their report.