Irrigation boosts US land prices

Access to irrigation makes arable land in the USA worth up to 10 times more than land without it.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Land Values 2013 Summary shows values vary very widely between states but in New Mexico, bare cropping land was worth an average of £2,688/acre with irrigation but just £268/acre without.

Elsewhere, irrigation commonly gives an uplift of about a third in the value of US cropping land, while in Texas the impact is far less, with irrigated land at £1,116/acre and unirrigated land worth £1,006/acre.

Overall, US farm values including land and buildings averaged £1,768/acre in 2013, a rise of 9.4% on 2012. Regional changes in the average value of equipped farms in 2013 ranged from a 23.1% increase in the Northern Plains region to no change in the southeast region.

The highest values were in the Cornbelt region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio at £3,902/acre. The Mountain region – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming had the lowest average land values, at £622/acre.

Across the US, arable land values have more than doubled in the past nine years while in 2013, values increased by £280/acre (13%) to average £2,439/acre. Values in the Cornbelt rose by 15.4% to average £3,902/acre while the Northern Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota) saw a 23.1% rise to average £1,298/acre. In the Southeast region, arable land values fell slightly.

United States pasture land values rose on average to £732/acre, 4.3% higher than in 2012.

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