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East-Central Minnesota Cropland Sales

The pacing of cropland sales in the east-central region of Minnesota would be considered slightly down but the values have been stable to slightly increasing in some areas. The greatest increases are occurring in areas with slightly transitional influence. There were several larger estates that were split up this year that sold very well given all of the marketplace conditions occurring.

Of note by the appraiser are several past and future sales occurring. Irrigated cropland has been increasing in desirability from operators partly due to limited quality tracts hitting the market but also because these operators are taking advantage of the diversity of crops that can be produced given the more volatile or lower margin traditional cash crops in recent years. Additionally, this sandy ground is heavily influenced by expansion of solar power generation and large amounts of ground under lease for potential large scale solar sites. 2020 saw an advertised, multi-tract auction set regional sales price records in Sherburne County. There were several competitive bidders on the tracts ranging from 41Ac to 220Ac and exhibited prices from roughly $13,000 to nearly $20,000 per wet acre.

An additional transaction is a very recent sale of a regionally large amount of cropland (~1,100 acres in eastern Benton County) that was set to be auctioned at the end of January in eight tracts. This was a much anticipated sale from the area market with the sellers being out of the market investors. The sale became unusual when additional out of the state investors saw a good return and made an offer on the entire property. Due to the local market traction and interest though, local buyers were given roughly 24 hours to make an offer on the properties. Four of the tracts were taken out of the ground by local buyers and they sold competitively for the area ($3,900 to $4,075 per tillable acre). The group that made an offer on the property pulled the offer and the property was scheduled to then be auctioned off in 4 tracts (~501 acres). Local buyers who had not jumped on pieces the first round were again excited for another crack at the ground. This excitement was tempered just before the auction was to commence as the investor group once again came in and this time locked down the purchase of the remaining tracts. These tracts sold for slightly higher than the local buyers paid.

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