Comparison of Alternative Sources of Farmland Values
Consistent and reliable data on farmland values is critical to assessing the overall financial health of agricultural producers. However, little is known about the idiosyncrasies and similarities of standard land value data sources – U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Reserve Bank land value surveys, and transaction prices. All three data sources are highly correlated, but transaction prices tend to be higher, especially for irrigated cropland and ranchland. USDA land values are reported as representing land values on January first, but instead they more closely represent first and second quarter land values according to a multi-state comparison to changes in quarterly Federal Reserve land values. Given the finding that first quarter Federal Reserve Bank land values lead USDA land values and that they are published before the USDA release, Federal Reserve land values are a timely indicator of agricultural producers’ financial position.
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