Hundreds of farmers and ranchers who were thinking about selling land earlier this year seemed to pull back as COVID-19 cases spread across the country – creating a great deal of economic uncertainty. But as land values seemed to hold, many of those same owners are now back into the market.

The nation’s largest farm management and brokerage firm, Farmers National Company, reports the dollar amount of land it's selling for clients is near record levels.

As of October 1, the company and its agents were actively marketing and selling land worth $300 million. The previous high was about $320 million in 2018.  
Randy Dickhut, the firm’s senior vice president for real estate operations, said the land for sale comes in all shapes and geographic locations.

The land being marketed includes good quality tillable cropland of all sizes, recreational land, ranches, pasture land, timberland, rural homes and acreages, and transitional land near urban areas, he noted.

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“Texas and the northern plains like North Dakota are kind of the hottest spots right now,” Dickhut said. Iowa landowners have the largest number of properties listed, with many being smaller parcels of 80 or 160 acres.

Dickhut says the reasons for selling vary.

“It's usually the inheritors, and what we're seeing is that some people were thinking about selling in the spring timeframe and when the COVID issue added the uncertainty in the economy, they just pulled back and took a wait and see attitude. And now they're back in the market.

“They've decided that land in farms has stayed pretty stable price-wise and demand is good. So, I think we'll go ahead and sell it. And that’s what we've seen.”

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