Farm real estate values in California are roughly three times the national average after continuing a long-established upswing.
According to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, the 2019 national average price of farm real estate - a measure of all land and buildings on farms - averaged $3,160 per acre, an increase of 1.9%. In California, that average price shot up 7% to $10,000, the biggest percentage increase in the nation. Californa's average price is behind only Massachusetts ($11,100), Connecticut ($12,200), New Jersey ($13,500), and Rhode Island ($15,600) as the fifth highest value in the nation.
Since 1994, ag land values within the state have risen nearly 80%. During that same time period, California's 77.8% increase has been a few percent higher than the nationwide 75.25% increase.
In the last 25 years, a steady increase in California farm real estate value has occurred. Only one year showed a decline: 2013's 4.35% drop in values took the average land value down to $6,900. That year, California was in the midst of a major drought that would later be declared a state of emergency in January 2014.
Across a variety of categories, California's value holds about two or three times higher than the national average. Land classified in cropland nationwide is valued at an average of $4,100 per acre. In California, that figure shoots up to $12,830. Pastureland tells a similar story, as the average nationwide price of $1,400 is just under half of California's average of $3,010 per acre.
California's size and product mix leads to a substantial agricultural footprint, accounting for over 13% of the nation's total agricultural value according to 2017 numbers provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
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