SOLD! Recent transactions, January 2018

By | SOLD! Recent sales

Another “Closing Day” to report! Just this week we closed a sale for sellers on some excellent farm land in Gardner township. This was an out of state family who wanted help in finding a strong buyer for their land, and we were happy to help make that happen. Take a look through the recently sold parcels and contact us if we can help you buy or sell farm land in the heart of the Red River Valley!

Cass County, Gardner Township (pt 1)
Cass County, Gardner Township (pt 2)

Until next time!

Andy

What drives ag land values? Part 2

By | Ag Land Values

There is a common saying in selling real estate (well, selling anything really) that goes something like this:

“Something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it at the time you wish to sell it.”

There is a lot of truth to that, but of course MANY factors will ultimately drive what that price will be that someone else is willing to pay. In this multi-part blog series, we’ll cover some of the largest drivers of ag land values. We’ll also provide some context to our local Southern Red River Valley land market and how it relates to these factors. Let’s continue!

Read Part 1: Soils

Part 2: Drainage

Another heavy-weight when it comes to factors impacting the value of farm land is how well or poorly a piece of land drains. Good drainage on farm land has huge benefits. Well drained soils a) can generally be worked and planted earlier in the spring, b) have higher seed germination, c) grow plants with a stronger root system which leads to better access to subsoil moisture and nutrients, and d) generally produce higher yields.

You may have the best soils around, but if the water backs up on your land or stays on the land too long, it will have a big impact on the value of it. If a piece of land has a lot of wetlands on it and/or is prone to flooding or drown out areas, this means the yield potential for the land will be diminished. Generally, the lower the yield potential the lower the value.

While most of the land in the Red River Valley is generally described as “flat, black, and square,” that doesn’t mean water drains the same across the entire valley. Many pieces of ag land in our area have some natural drainage features or impediments, such as natural undulation, elevations, roll or slope (however subtle they might be), small coulees, natural drains, and more. These natural features usually have either a positive or negative effect on drainage within a given piece of farm land. A great way to see the elevations and contours of land is through LiDAR images which show high and low points really well (example to the right). Contact us if you want a LiDAR image of your land. You can also contact your local FSA office (ND or MN) and ask for a wetland map of your land which would show likely problem areas.

Then there are man-made changes to drainage, all meant to improve drainage for the land. Two common in this area are surface ditching and drain tiling. Drain tile in this area is becoming more and more common as a way to improve drainage of land that otherwise may hold water longer than desired, or even to help reduce issues such as salinity in the soil. While drain tiling can come at a hefty expense (many ballpark the cost at around $1k/acre +/-), the benefits can also be significant.

Keep in mind, not ALL land is a good candidate for drain tiling. Depending on the soil types or other issues such as soil sodicity, you may not get the full benefits tiling can bring. Here is a good article put out by the NDSU Extension Service that may help you decide if your land is a good candidate or not.

If you farm your land, you already know if you have good drainage or not. If you do not farm it or perhaps live out of state and aren’t sure, you may be curious to know how good your drainage is. The easiest way to find out is to call your renter and ask for their feedback! If you want another opinion, you are always welcome to contact us as well and we would be happy to do some research for you.

Remember, drainage is just one of many factors that impact the value of farm land. Stay tuned for future articles in this blog series that will uncover more.

Until next time!

Andy

Part 1: Soils

SOLD! Recent transactions, December 2017

By | SOLD! Recent sales

Another “Closing Day” today to report! With four different pieces of ag land scattered around Cass County closing this morning, combined with the closing last Friday of our auctioned land in Richland County, it’s been a busy month for the Goldmark Ag Land Sales & Auction team. Closing can sometimes be a hard thing for Sellers, but these recent closings had happy Sellers and happy Buyers in all cases…a great Win-Win that we strive for in every sale we perform! Take a look through the recently sold parcels and contact us if we can help you buy or sell farm land in the heart of the Red River Valley!

Richland County, Barney Township
Cass County, Addison Township
Cass County, Bell Township
Cass County, Gardner Township
Cass County, Gunkel Township

Until next time!

Andy

What drives ag land values? Part 1

By | Ag Land Values

There is a common saying in selling real estate (well, selling anything really) that goes something like this:

“Something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it at the time you wish to sell it.”

There is a lot of truth to that, but of course MANY factors will ultimately drive what that price will be that someone else is willing to pay. In this multi-part blog series, we’ll cover some of the largest drivers of ag land values. We’ll also provide some context to our local Southern Red River Valley land market and how it relates to these factors. Let’s get started!

Part 1: Soils

This one should come as no surprise. If you have quality, highly productive soils, your land will be worth more than land with poorer, under-performing soils. If you farm the land yourself, you inherently know which land has high quality soils and which land does not. After all, the proof (i.e. yield) is often “in the pudding.” If you are not a farmer however, you may wonder how good is your soil? Well thankfully there are some objective ways this can be evaluated.

A bit of background first. There are a handful of major soil types in the world (sandy, silty, clay, peaty, loam, etc.) but among these there are THOUSANDS of soil series across the US alone (identified and labeled thanks to work done decades ago by the US Government’s soil surveys). In the southern Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, examples of local soil series includes the Fargo, Bearden, Kindred, or Tonka series (and a whole lot more). As you have likely heard before, the Red River Valley has some of the richest, most productive soils in the world. Yet variations in soil quality are very common here too.

You see, under a series there are thousands of different Soil Map Units which include the specific variations/combinations of each series. Examples in our area of a Soil Map Unit include Fargo silty clay, Hamerly-Tonka complex, or Kindred-Bearden Silty Clay Loam just to name a few. Below are two soil maps for farmland in our area for example (one parcel with a very diverse soil mix and another with just a couple soil map units). Notice the wide differences you can see in complexity, diversity and more.

 

Each Soil Map Unit is assigned a relative quality index, commonly referred to as  “Crop Productivity Index” or CPI. You will see that value in the last column in the soil maps above. These indexes can vary from region to region, so comparing these numbers for land in North Dakota versus Wisconsin for example would not be apples-to-apples necessarily. But for looking at soil quality within a given area, this CPI can be useful to gain a relative understanding of soil quality. Generally speaking, in our region a CPI in the 80’s or 90’s represents the strongest quality soils. A CPI in the 70’s or lower may indicate a lower producing piece of land. Take heed however…CPI is NOT the end-all/be-all of soil quality and it alone cannot be used as a measure to determine soil health, quality, and value. There are cases where land with a lower CPI has consistently out-yielded land with a higher CPI. It is however a good place to start when evaluating soil quality.

We won’t get any deeper than this, but it is safe to say that soil types and quality is very diverse across any geographic location and the southern Valley is no exception. And keep in mind, even within the same county (such as Cass County, ND), you can find vastly different soils on the eastern 2/3’s of the county (“Red River Valley” soil) compared to the western 1/3 (“Drift Prairie” dirt).

So how good is your soil? Well, the first step is to figure out what soils are on your land. One option is to pay for some of the online tools that make it very easy to look up this information (we use https://www.agridatainc.com/ for example). To look up this information for just a few pieces of land, it’s likely going to be cost prohibitive to do that however. A FREE option is to use online resource the USDA provides that allows you to look up any piece of land in the United States and get the soil survey information for it (https://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/WebSoilSurvey.aspx). A bit harder to use, but you get what you pay for!

Once you know the soils you have, you can find a lot of information online about the different soil series and even individual Soil Map Units (such as https://soilseries.sc.egov.usda.gov/). You can also contact us at any point for help in quickly looking this information up for your land at no cost.

Land in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota may also have soil issues such as high salinity or sodicity, which we haven’t covered here. And remember that information about soil types, map units, CPI, etc. is not bullet-proof and does not reflect things like soil health (a growing concern/focus among farmers and buyers) or other large drivers of ag land values (such as drainage, size, location, etc.). In future articles we’ll cover these other drivers and provide more insight into what ultimately drives the value of a piece of farmland.

Until next time!

Andy

Read Part 2: Drainage

Welcome!

By | General

Hello and WELCOME to our new website focused on helping buyers and sellers of southern Red River Valley farmland! We hope you will find this site and informative and helpful, and maybe even a bit entertaining from time to time! It is exciting to launch this website as yet another excellent tool to help our clients near and far achieve their goals when it comes to selling, buying, or managing their ag land. Here are a few things you can expect to find here in the future:

  • Information on farm land that is currently available for sale.
  • Helpful information about recent land sales in the Southern Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Informative articles about numerous topics related to farm land ownership, management, and sales.
  • As always, superior service and marketing from your ag land experts at Goldmark Commercial Real Estate!

You are welcome to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage to stay up-to-date, or contact us anytime if you have questions or needs we can help you with. Thank you for stopping by…we hope you will come again!

Andy Westby

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