Idaho farm land values for 2009 did not follow the recent trend of the real estate boom. The National Agricultural Statistics Service annually publishes average values by state. Ratios of market to annual cash rent indicate relative market demand for farm and ranchland. The August 2009 Idaho data suggest that market values have declined as a result of the real estate bubble, and the state average cash rent of irrigated cropland increased.
The change compared to recent years creates a ripple affect for financial incentives. As the gap narrows between market and production values, the conservation investor benefits with lower appraised value of conservation easements. For the owner of a working forest, ranch or farm, the values are a disincentive because of the lower easement values.
The dilemma is similar for state policy makers. State revenues have also decreased, limiting opportunities to allocate dollars to a private working lands incentive program. The Census Bureau forecasts a population increase of 500,000 for Idaho by the year 2030. Combined with the recent analysis of Baby Boomer migration patterns, the gap between market and production values will eventually extend previous trends and increase. Although the purchase opportunity is today, the financial resources are not available.
The 2009 Agricultural Land Value and Cash Rent Summary is published on the NASS Website. Read more>>