The value of farmland in Illinois continues to rise. The USDA reports that Illinois cropland, worth an average of $4,590 an acre in 2009, has gone up in value every year since, and last year was worth $7,190 an acre – a 56 percent increase. Gary Schnitkey, a University of Illinois professor of farm management, says with commodity prices strong, farmers have money and bankers are willing to lend.
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“Commodity prices took a fairly large increase in 2006, primarily because of the use of corn in ethanol, and since then we’ve seen steadily rising land values,” he said. Schnitkey says the value of farmland for development isn’t what it was before the housing bust, but he says the land is valued more when it’s near cities such as Champaign, Decatur and Bloomington. Also, he says it’s a good place for investors to put money, since other low-risk investments aren’t paying much. The value of all agricultural real estate in Illinois – cropland, pastureland and farm buildings – is pegged at $190 billion, up from $119 billion in 2009.