With Dickinson County surrounded by farmland, residents have gotten used to driving by the crops, livestock and barns, while realtors have gotten used to the sales and auctions of land with the changing agricultural industry.

According to the Dickinson County Register of Deeds’ office, the county saw 32 land sales, which included both dry land and grass land properties. The average cost of dry land was $1,950 and grass land was $2,140, which was rounded to the nearest $10. The county saw no sales of irrigated land, which with the absence of irrigated land sales, an increase of $190 was applied to grass land sales to arrive at a market value of $2,330 for irrigated land for 2022. All values reflect the county’s 2022 Land Agriculture Market Table.

Owner and Broker of Horizon Farm and Ranch Realty LLC Ray Swearingen and his agents use their collective 50 years of experience in land sales to guide sellers & buyers through the process. For 2021, he saw a change in land sales, which switched the last seven years of prices.

“18 months ago, we were at a seven year low in land values from our high in 2014,” Swearingen said.

He said land prices had risen in recent months.

“Overall, land prices have seen a dramatic increase in the last nine months, with all areas farmland, ranchland and recreational land meeting or exceeding historic highs in the markets,” Swearingen said.

While COVID created issues for many industries to advance, the realtors saw subsidies with help of other elements make the best market for land.

“Leading contributors to the bull market are historically low interest rates, a strong rally in commodity prices across the board, Covid related government subsidies and phenomenal returns in the stock market, ‘’ Swearingen said.

The changes allowed many farming and ranching families to recoup after a rough couple of years of the agriculture industry.

“Low interest rates and higher commodity prices have given our farmers and ranchers a chance to regroup from the last few rough years in agriculture and look at the possibility of expanding their operations,” Swearingen said. “The COVID related subsidies have furthered opportunities, not only for these hard-working folks that have suffered as much as anyone during the last 18 months of COVID uncertainty, but for the investor buyers that look closely at return on investment. Add in the record high trading volume in the stock market that has left the investor buyers with the cash to invest with many looking for a safe and tangible investment alternative to park their money.”

All of this contributes to the current price of land.

“Throw any of these factors together and you have a trifecta that is responsible for our current rise in land values,” Swearingen said. “Whether you are talking farmland, ranchland or recreational land, there are aggressive buyers seeking to add to their operation and investment portfolio.”

With buyers wanting land and sellers wanting money, brokers needed to find a better way to get land sales to the audience during attendance restrictions.

“Land auctions became difficult to navigate with attendance restrictions,” Swearingen said. “We adapted and moved to a live venue combined with a simulcast online bidding platform in order to safely meet the needs of our sellers and buyers.”

 

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