Nationally, the price of agricultural land is climbing steadily, and land prices in several Rocky Mountain States are leading the way.
Throughout the region, an acre of farmland costs about 18 percent more than it would have at this time last year according to a report released Friday by the Agricultural Statistics Board, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture.
In Montana in particular, the going rate for an acre of irrigated farmland jumped $900 last year, by 32 percent to a total of $3,700. The average piece of an acre of farmland under the Big Sky runs about $960, that’s a 20 percent jump over 2006.
Nationally, since 1998, the cost of one acre of farmland went up by just more than $1,000.
Many factors are driving the trend, including an influx of people buying agricultural lands for housing and recreation. But rising commodity prices, especially in corn, could also be a factor, says Peggy Stringer, Director of the Montana Field Office of the USDA.
Rising prices may be one factor, but Montana’s growing population is another. Agricultural lands are getting sold off for commercial and real-estate development.
By Jessica Mayrer – NewWest