Local agland prices continue to skyrocket on the heels of rising corn and soybean prices to fuel a boom of ethanol and biofuel plants.
One recent isolated sale of northwest Iowa farmland brought a whopping $8,825 an acre, and several other parcels in the region have sold from $5,000-$7,000 an acre - perhaps twice what they might have been worth early in the alternative fuels boom.
More farms are being put up for sale, which is just keeping up with the cosiderable land demand, accordig to a report by Stalcup Ag Service in Storm Lake.
The latest survey of agland prices shows a 20 percent increase just since the beginning of the year - even after "throwing out" the most unusually high recent sales, according to Stalcup.
Why? Some ethanol plants are posting cash bids around $3.80 for corn delivered in the fall of 2008, 2009 or 2010. Soybeans are bringing $8.50-$9 for 2008 and 2009.
"Revolutionary might not be too strong a word for the changes we have witnessed," Stalcup analysts said.
One area elevator has averaged prices of $3.34 for corn and $6.88 for soybeans on cash bids since October of last year - compared to an average of $1.88 corn and $5.33 beans between 1998-2006 (not including government price support payments).
Corn acreage should bring $255 per acre more gross income for farmers this year as compared to the average of the recent past.