Missouri Farmland Values

Editor’s note
See the County Land Value Estimator spreadsheet (XLSX) for related information.

Ryan Milhollin
Assistant Professor
Agricultural Business and Policy Extension
Raymond Massey
Professor
Agricultural Business and Policy Extension

Land valuesIndividuals and businesses often need an estimate of the value of a piece of land. A properly done appraisal provides the most accurate estimate of a piece of land’s value. Appraisals attempt to estimate value from comparable sales. Comparable sales should be nearby, have sold recently and have similar characteristics.

It is not always feasible to get an appraisal on a piece of land, particularly when a historical value is sought. A historical land value is often needed to calculate taxes and settle estates. When appraisals are not feasible, estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data might be an acceptable option.

USDA agricultural land values

The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA collects and reports information on the market value of agricultural land and buildings. The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years and seeks responses from every farmer. The published Censuses report the market value of Agricultural land, including buildings, for each county in the year the information was gathered. Table 1 provides the average market value of Agricultural land, including buildings by Missouri county for the last 10 Censuses of Agriculture.

The USDA updates the state average market value of Agricultural land, including buildings every year. This update relies on surveying a subset of farmers, select Realtors and others who have direct knowledge of land sales in each state. The published results do not have county values. The annual survey reports values for these four land classes: 1) All Cropland, 2) Non-Irrigated Cropland, 3) Irrigated Cropland, and 4) Pastureland. These land classes are not reported on a county basis in the Census of Agriculture. Table 2 provides the average market value of these agricultural land classes for the state of Missouri since 1950.

Understanding USDA data

Understanding some characteristics of the USDA agricultural land value estimates is important for individuals and businesses wishing to use them for business purposes. From 1850 to 1996, the USDA annually reported for each state a single value estimate called Ag land, including buildings. Since 1997, the USDA has reported a state value by various agricultural land classes without buildings.

Every five years, in the Censuses of Agriculture, USDA reports Ag land, including buildings, for each county. Houses, barns, sheds and other buildings on the land are included in the reported asset value. This value merges all types of land, such as irrigated, non-irrigated and pastureland, together.

The USDA estimates are for either an entire county or the entire state. However, the value of land can vary considerably within any one county. More productive land is worth more than less productive land. Cropland is worth more than pastureland. Land adjacent to certain highways may be worth more than land farther from those highways. None of these factors are reported in the county and state estimates of land and buildings. For this reason, the estimate may not provide an acceptable estimate of the value an individual piece of land.

The reports provide a consistent record of trends in land values. Since the methodology is consistent over time, the annual changes reported are likely to reflect what happens on individual pieces of land. However, changes over time may cause the values of certain pieces of land to differ from the USDA reported average. For example, land 20 miles out of city limits may have been considered for only agricultural purposes in 1970. By 2020, that land may be much closer to city limits and people want to purchase that land for a house site. That may drive its value much higher than the state or county average.

The Census of Agriculture values are most useful for estimating specific land values because they provide county level estimates. The annual survey data of state land values by type is helpful for observing trends in land values in the years between Censuses. The reported values for various types of agricultural land in Missouri are very highly correlated (correlation coefficient of .95 to .99) with the reported value for Ag land, including buildings. A correlation of 1 indicates perfect correlation.

Since the county value is an average for all land in the county, it most likely reflects the value of an individual piece of land to the extent that piece of land is like the county land types. For example, if a county contains mostly cropland and the land under consideration is mostly cropland, the county value may fit well. But if the land under consideration is all pastureland, the county value will likely overvalue that particular piece of land.

Estimating historical values

When an historical estimate of value for a particular piece of land is needed, it is advisable to start with the county level data reported in the Census of Agriculture. Because county data are reported every five years, methods of estimating the value in intervening years have been developed.

If the percent change in the annual reported state value for Ag land, including buildings accurately reflects the change for land in each county, this percent change can be applied for years when no county level data exist. The steps below indicate how a county level estimate for land value could be obtained for any year.

Step 1: Find which Census of Agriculture immediately precedes the year for which you are interested in finding a value.

Step 2: Locate the value of ag land in the county in that Census data (see Table 1).

Step 3: Locate the values for ag land in Missouri for the years between the year of the Census and the year of interest (see Table 2).

Step 4: Determine the percent change in state land value between the two years. Percent change = (ending year value ÷ beginning year value) – 1.

Step 5: Increase the county value from step 1 by the percent change from step 4. County value in the desired year = county value in previous Census × (1 + percent increase between the desired year and the previous Census of Ag value).

For example, if you wanted to know the value of ag land in Adair County in 2010, perform the following steps.

Step 1: The 2007 Census is the nearest Census prior to the year 2010.

Step 2: The value reported for Adair County in the 2007 Census of Agriculture is $1,862 (from Table 1).

Step 3: The Missouri state value for ag land in 2007 is $2,170 and in 2010 is $2,270 (from Table 2).

Step 4: The percent change is 4.6% (= 2,270 ÷ 2,170 – 1).

Step 5: The estimated value of land in Adair County in 2010 is $1,948 (= $1,862 × 1.046).

Accounting for land quality differences

A more accurate estimate than the average county land value for a previous year is occasionally desired. This can occur when the land in question obviously differs from the average county land value. Perhaps proximity to a town, presence of irrigation, higher productivity land or some other characteristic makes modifying the county level value important.

The estimate of county land value can be modified to account for expected value differences by following the steps below.

Step 6: Obtain an appraisal of the market value of the land. An appraisal done at any time can be used but more recent appraisals are best. The value of recently built structures should be removed from the appraisal so that only land valuation is being considered.

Step 7: Estimate the county value of the land for the year in which the appraisal was made. This would be accomplished by Steps 1-5 above.

Step 8: Estimate the percent difference between the appraisal value and the estimated county land value. Percent change = (appraisal value ÷ county value) – 1.

Step 9: Modify the county value for the year of concern (from Step 5) by the percent difference (from Step 8). Adjusted land value = county value of land × (1+ percent difference between the appraisal value and the estimated county value).

Spreadsheet tool

The County Land Value Estimator spreadsheet (XLSX) was developed to accompany this guide. This tool contains the data found in tables 1 and 2 of this guide and provides a tool to estimate land values. Users can enter the county year of interest to receive estimated county values. County values can be modified to more closely approximate the value of a particular piece of land.

Table 1. Average market value (in dollars per acre) of farmland and buildings for Missouri counties.

County195919641969197419781982198719921997b2002200720122017
Adair1151181682995116354184546501,0121,8622,4532,792
Andrew1501842794988179586647751,1741,8382,4213,5583,843
Atchison1832213155481,0049416807751,1191,6422,4524,8624,903
Audrain1662112835001,0011,0666868021,1931,6012,6093,8224,256
Barry811161783776208797528291,3091,6782,5822,5383,429
Barton871281863606948244866257761,0001,8582,1052,753
Bates1031362273846516944856119421,1991,9552,2683,090
Benton59911392644726804575689181,1151,9012,0902,737
Bollinger56901362815326725966261,0081,2921,8732,0142,507
Boone1271712855099079587941,0361,5992,5442,8053,6445,654
Buchanan1812162954999801,0097928871,2171,7902,7023,4514,053
Butler1091952604988909917589291,1911,4992,2663,1844,695
Caldwell1191422193936748045405818861,3691,9992,2753,170
Callaway951331943837629526248171,2171,7802,5483,2673,960
Camden3447912084875634745247821,2541,8582,1762,208
Cape Girardeau1211802334108591,1008231,0461,3611,8912,5403,1334,343
Carroll1421832624377959116487929671,2952,1143,1343,580
Carter3966871764195384635407901,0481,6301,6631,909
Cass1522113575529311,0919031,1781,5171,8442,8393,3183,759
Cedar62951412894926854785688901,1461,8231,8222,489
Chariton1331662573977869385857219961,3331,9692,9733,439
Christian1071382204556868898821,2591,7602,3872,7853,1244,027
Clark981382013667477745546038131,1651,9712,6543,575
Clay2783004877761,2871,4761,0501,3291,8253,3922,8504,2824,169
Clinton1551852965618669507257961,2541,5412,3303,4273,721
Cole861211603465588226918621,1541,9742,4102,9133,646
Cooper1131392063406697295257079411,3322,2262,8413,268
Crawford58801462984535385606749021,2471,8592,0802,583
Dade731061743215686844866009031,2771,8192,1922,807
Dallas63831513035227076256751,1521,3962,2232,3262,583
Daviess1181472083886918615225977171,1761,9372,7843,265
DeKalb1241612684497068795125738821,1391,9582,8173,273
Dent4355962243364644505267469911,6831,6022,091
Douglas39531002444455785375957811,0711,8451,6242,100
Dunklin2494264225901,1121,2739601,1001,4861,9362,4723,7705,090
Franklin1111472484827501,0709581,1821,6242,4312,9923,7223,864
Gasconade63821392604775906377561,0451,5862,2052,4512,787
Gentry1091271963586577285225517761,1561,8692,6363,098
Greene1872313225869391,2031,2981,3662,2063,2993,2773,6834,745
Grundy1161342234047501,0425286577271,0241,8612,3032,928
Harrison1041261623235757074354966359511,8372,4942,768
Henry971402243897077465536528311,2091,8032,1242,690
Hickory47731352644165435045146961,0821,5621,9412,108
Holt1732392905439811,1097169191,0401,4912,4523,7994,893
Howard1041452123657097545587231,0461,3342,1092,5373,023
Howell50681242724816645286239751,3721,7341,8832,144
Iron42681262754895824535859361,3321,7081,6102,065
Jackson3234035518381,2511,5681,3961,7632,1223,6753,2664,0375,814
Jasper1301712474417188616848211,1961,4942,2102,3373,221
Jefferson1141692935708591,1761,0221,4412,0212,6353,0803,4074,200
Johnson1081382354457689547368021,1121,6932,2272,6453,344
Knox1161311933687447834835527961,3911,8972,9813,042
Laclede65781423014746375587109201,3771,9282,2002,517
Lafayette1782173196209851,0818359921,4211,8312,7054,2254,535
Lawrence1091462124407259067638731,2771,7772,4672,5623,198
Lewis1161292043917758074966048791,1062,1312,8943,312
Lincoln1471912944959161,1359621,1451,6542,1723,1353,9004,361
Linn1171191894286997934555466841,0051,8262,4162,883
Livingston1251522174047298925167938761,2852,0252,9163,372
Macon861161582936026824665236761,0721,7922,4773,194
Madison49771152294375354556197079731,7101,8402,099
Maries4356872163684984184747351,0321,7041,9511,971
Marion1461812494087539716067811,0251,2262,2313,5613,966
McDonald72951933426967757578851,2562,0292,3702,3142,682
Mercer82911502925926144305508825,358c1,8112,2192,693
Miller51761122414655615236238741,4791,9662,2212,497
Mississippi2353614005261,1321,3801,0201,2671,5911,8552,3654,1535,837
Moniteau891121743215647275466899311,3802,3752,6983,570
Monroe1111582204008448815676679011,1832,2643,1253,559
Montgomery1241642604697491,0016999001,1741,6392,8503,4533,771
Morgan66;911483045826445355701,0011,5532,2162,6463,837
New Madrid2804354795661,1561,3849421,1481,4621,8372,4254,4355,591
Newton1121472094387369897309691,3521,7602,6232,5773,639
Nodaway1351632564429218685626898451,1952,1023,2514,012
Oregon36501022383855474135698161,0041,7061,5561,781
Osage56651042504025004805539191,4001,9382,0472,415
Ozark3445882113975085675297241,3661,7051,6242,133
Pemiscot3234314815671,0641,4099371,0591,3831,7722,1613,6185,235
Perry1211302083417738667058011,0831,4872,1752,6733,273
Pettis1121652384087728326107549961,3882,3652,7363,500
Phelps57811362563966415466378671,5192,0652,3012,636
Pike1201662214249119256267961,1841,6182,3683,4613,516
Platte1972344416691,1911,1479021,1781,8742,3062,8433,8884,429
Polk801081823635887616407241,2211,4092,1652,0662,525
Pulaski51681012223385034624947311,3101,8621,9482,237
Putnam69871352484925443674045998661,7252,0632,520
Ralls1191622553918139126347891,0611,4372,3733,2103,850
Randolph1151492093557338975546048871,1742,0332,6303,461
Ray1481812804658431,0067138861,2751,4902,2002,7303,516
Reynolds38551012044115023697145991,0481,4241,4631,599
Ripley64861292624956185685797951,0161,7291,7942,446
St. Charles2582784627241,1931,7001,5422,0972,6643,9913,2714,2404,885
St. Clair62981613205876604425097241,0181,7871,6562,453
St. Francois911091753657307858051,0261,2542,0332,6362,5132,933
St. Louis899a1,033a9171,0941,7853,2132,2592,1522,7893,6273,6864,1284,348
Ste. Genevieve901221623256337577178271,1021,4662,1682,3052,951
Saline1902342945099151,0948158611,2141,3682,2094,0234,010
Schuyler90971622825816183674016248111,7002,2262,581
Scotland1031311803567307424706157691,1221,9652,9363,370
Scott1762613454791,0291,3088341,0881,3371,7452,5854,0775,087
Shannon39561202074404894114835881,0521,7561,6701,963
Shelby1181422153697828125436119121,1872,0733,5523,729
Stoddard1772873394821,0581,3229401,2091,5662,0482,3694,3925,353
Stone77901913396026965788151,2731,9272,4652,3692,894
Sullivan72891332905296353544406648141,5661,8582,338
Taney42631142524174874716131,1481,7281,9021,9612,235
Texas46631072314295384435857581,0271,7371,6412,066
Vernon781201823176636894746528831,1051,8422,1562,841
Warren1231642595151,0331,2679731,5841,7662,3123,3243,8804,048
Washington61881292664014915256658041,4771,8641,9192,372
Wayne45601032144215914535377801,0341,7061,5272,350
Webster76961733646027016568051,1921,7222,6132,6123,102
Worth1081182012927096114485425529161,6352,2542,844
Wright49661082904775925106548811,2591,8111,7972,158
Missouri
average
1121502243967238566407741,0691,5082,1792,7913,385
Source: U.S. Census of Agriculture
a. St. Louis City and County are included in 1959 and 1964; all other years are county only.
b. 1997 data have been reweighted to reflect the new methodology used in the more recent censuses.
c. This is the federally recognized value for this year, yet it is abnormally high compared to peer counties and land values in subsequent years. We recommend users instead use 1,347 (average of land values in 1997 and 2007).

Table 2. Missouri state average values for various classes of agricultural land (in dollars per acre).

YearMissouriAll croplandNon-irrigated croplandIrrigated croplandPastureland
195175N/AN/AN/AN/A
195285N/AN/AN/AN/A
195382N/AN/AN/AN/A
195479N/AN/AN/AN/A
195582N/AN/AN/AN/A
195687N/AN/AN/AN/A
195794N/AN/AN/AN/A
1958102N/AN/AN/AN/A
1959110N/AN/AN/AN/A
1960115N/AN/AN/AN/A
1961120N/AN/AN/AN/A
1962127N/AN/AN/AN/A
1963132N/AN/AN/AN/A
1964145N/AN/AN/AN/A
1965155N/AN/AN/AN/A
1966168N/AN/AN/AN/A
1967186N/AN/AN/AN/A
1968200N/AN/AN/AN/A
1969217N/AN/AN/AN/A
1970224N/AN/AN/AN/A
1971236N/AN/AN/AN/A
1972261N/AN/AN/AN/A
1973294N/AN/AN/AN/A
1974384N/AN/AN/AN/A
1975396N/AN/AN/AN/A
1976456N/AN/AN/AN/A
1977548N/AN/AN/AN/A
1978641N/AN/AN/AN/A
1979726N/AN/AN/AN/A
1980902N/AN/AN/AN/A
1981990N/AN/AN/AN/A
1982945N/AN/AN/AN/A
1983856N/AN/AN/AN/A
1984875N/AN/AN/AN/A
1985689N/AN/AN/AN/A
1986648N/AN/AN/AN/A
1987604N/AN/AN/AN/A
1988640N/AN/AN/AN/A
1989684N/AN/AN/AN/A
1990701N/AN/AN/AN/A
1991723N/AN/AN/AN/A
1992734N/AN/AN/AN/A
1993774N/AN/AN/AN/A
1994825N/AN/AN/AN/A
1995880N/AN/AN/AN/A
1996950N/AN/AN/AN/A
19971,0101,0401,0001,600660
19981,0701,1301,0901,670700
19991,1501,2201,1801,820770
20001,2301,3001,2601,930840
20011,3001,3801,3402,000910
20021,3801,4801,4402,070980
20031,4701,5801,5402,1501,050
20041,5601,6601,6302,2201,120
20051,7501,8301,8002,4101,310
20061,9102,0101,9702,6501,500
20072,1702,3302,3002,8001,730
20082,3002,5002,4702,9801,800
20092,1602,4902,4502,9901,670
20102,2702,6002,5603,1401,600
20112,4202,7902,7503,3201,610
20122,7103,1203,0803,6401,700
20132,8503,5003,4504,1401,790
20143,0503,7503,6704,6701,820
20153,2303,6803,5704,9501,880
20163,2203,5703,4704,8301,830
20173,1203,5603,4504,9401,830
20183,3803,4903,3804,7701,920
20193,4003,4903,3504,7701,980
20203,4003,5303,4004,7002,000
20213,7003,8103,7004,8002,160
Original authors: Ronald L. Plain and Joyce White