COLUMBIA, Mo. – Buyers and sellers who need an estimate of the value of a piece of farmland may not always find it feasible to get an appraisal, particularly one that reflects the land’s historical value needed to calculate taxes and settle estates.

University of Missouri Extension offers a publication and spreadsheet that give estimated value of farmland by county in Missouri, says Ray Massey, MU Extension professor in agricultural business and policy. Massey and Ryan Milhollin, assistant extension professor of agricultural business and policy, are co-authors of the “Missouri Farmland Values” guide and the accompanying county land value estimator spreadsheet.

Every five years since 1950, the U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys farmers and reports county-level land value in its Census of Agriculture. USDA also updates the average statewide market value of agricultural land and buildings each year. Since 1997, the state-level values are provided in four classes: all cropland, non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and pastureland. This annual report does not break values down by county but is helpful in observing trends, says Massey.

Values can vary considerably within a county depending upon location, land quality and other factors, says Milhollin. For this reason, USDA estimates may not provide an acceptable estimate of land values. However, it does provide a consistent historical perspective, he says.

In the guide, Milhollin and Massey recommend steps to estimate historical land values at a county level. The accompanying spreadsheet reports the average market value for individual Missouri counties starting from 1959.

The guide and county land value estimator spreadsheet are available for free download at