The survey was initiated in 1941 and is sponsored annually by Iowa State University. Only the state average and the district averages are based directly on ISU survey data. County estimates are derived using a procedure that combines ISU survey results with data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture. Since 2014, the survey has been conducted by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
The survey is intended to provide information on general land value trends, geographical land price relationships, and factors influencing the Iowa land market. The survey is not intended to provide a direct estimate for any particular piece of property. The survey is an expert opinion survey based on reports by licensed real estate brokers, farm managers, appraisers, agricultural lenders, county assessors, and selected individuals considered to be knowledgeable of land market conditions. Respondents were asked to report for more than one county if they were knowledgeable about the land markets. The 2018 ISU Land Value Survey is based on 793 usable county- level land value estimates provided by 624 agricultural professionals.
Of the 624 respondents, 62 percent completed the survey online. Online responses allow participants to provide estimates for up to 15 counties. A web portal has been developed to facilitate the visualization and analysis of Iowa farmland values by pooling data from ISU, USDA, Chicago Fed, and the Realtor Land Institute, as well as by making use of charts over time and interactive county maps. The portal can be accessed at www.card.iastate.edu/farmland.
Participants in the survey are asked to estimate the value of high-, medium-, and low-quality land in their county. Comparative sales and other factors are taken into account by the respondents in making these value estimates. This survey is the only data source that provides an annual land value estimate at the county level for each of the 99 counties in Iowa. In addition, this survey provides estimates of high-, medium-, and low- quality land at the crop reporting district and state level.
The 2018 state average for all quality of land was estimated to be $7,264 per acre as of November 1, 2018. This is a decrease of $62 per acre from November 2017, and a 0.8 percent decrease. This is the fourth year of decline in the past five years. Click here to view the full survey results.