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Don’t Bet the Farm

YOU’VE LIVED THROUGH THE TECH-STOCK BUBBLE. The dot-com bubble. The residential-real-estate bubble. Now, prepare for the cropland bubble. – At year-end 2007, farms — the newest count implies that the U.S. has 2,089,790 — are just what Miami condos and San Diego McMansions were at year-end 2004 properties so hot that they’re more likely to have a meltdown inside their future. As town slickers in many areas of the nation see the market costs of their homesteads deflate faster compared to a New Year’s celebration ball n, farmers are watching the values of the land swell by yearly percentages that are double-digit. Nationwide, farmland rates skyrocketed 50% within the last three years, to a typical of close to $2,200 an acre through August, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While that is the latest thirty days for which federal data can be found, there’s no question that prices are still sprinting ahead. – Ground zero for the phenomenon might be Iowa, which, just like a volcano that is newly active sits at the center of a massive dome of rising farm and pastureland costs stretching across America’s heart

and beyond, from Ohio to the Dakotas. Bidders for Iowa farmland have become almost because eager as the politicians scurrying around the Hawkeye State desperately stumping for the following month’s presidential caucuses.

Mike Duffy, an economics professor at Iowa State University, calculates that the typical farm that is year-end in the state will be a record $3,908 an acre — $508 greater than the USDA’s August estimate (see map). Read more…