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Farmland sold for $16,900/acre in 2012 in York County, NE

Farmland sold for $16,900/acre in 2012 in York County, NE

Assessor says $16,900/acre likely highest ever in state!


By Melanie Wilkinson
York News-Times

YORK – When the gavel fell Monday afternoon, the county saw its highest ever ag land sale price in history.
"This is it," said Ross Ronne from Norm Green Realty and Auction, as he conducted the proceedings. "The hammer's coming down and we have a sale at $16,900 an acre."

It was a tense hour as six active bidders attempted to purchase 161 acres located 3 ½ miles south of the Bradshaw I-80 exit (at the corner of Roads H and 6). The farm ground, Ronne said, has been in the Haws family for more than 130 years.

Listed as sellers were Robert, Richard, William and Barbara Haws.

Bidding started at $9,000 an acre and quickly escalated – jumping thousands of dollars between recesses.
The total purchase price – at the end of bidding – was $2.72 million.

"You have just witnessed the highest price per acre for farm ground in the county, if not the state," Ronne told auction-goers.

York County Assessor Ann Charlton confirmed that this was the highest price paid per acre (for land used for farming and continuing for farming) in the county. The previous record was $14,375 an acre, which was set earlier this year upon the sale of ag land east of Henderson.

"I can't say, for sure, that this was the highest price ever paid for farm ground to farm ground in the state, but I have not heard of a higher sale in Nebraska," Charlton said. "It is very likely this was the highest price ever paid per acre in the state's history."

Because government offices were closed Monday, due to the observance of Veteran's Day, no confirmation of a state record could be made. 

"It doesn't happen every day that land like this becomes available," Ronne told bidders.

The parcel has a working pivot, along with some wetland area.

"You don't get a chance to buy farms in this area very often," Ronne said further, moving the bidding along. "This is one of the nicest quarters in the county."

When the bidding hit $15,000, sighs from the crowd could be heard as onlookers stirred in their chairs.

The sound became more like gasps as the bid hit $16,000 and looked as if it was going to lock in at $17,000.

Three years ago, in York County, the average ag land price was $5,000 an acre for irrigated land. That has steadily been rising "and in just the last year, we've seen quite a few ag land sales in the range of $8,000-$10,000 an acre. At mid-year, the average sale price was around $9,375," Charlton said.

Noting this most recent sale is much higher, Charlton said high-dollar sales such as Monday's record-setter won't necessarily skew future valuations all by itself.

"When determining valuation, we use the median value," Charlton explained. "We take the bundle of parcels and use the middle number – not the average – the median number is what we consider as value for assessment."

With sale prices consistently higher, however, the increasing change in valuation will eventually come but it won't be immediate. Cycles of two to three years are considered when valuation numbers are set.