Murray Wise Ag Notes.

Why farmland isn't overvalued

February 22, 2012


I have a challenge for you: Look around on Wall Street -- or anywhere else for that matter -- and find a business where net income was up 28% and debt decreased by 3%.

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Warren Buffett on why he'd rather own farmland than gold

February 22, 2012

Warren Buffett on Gold vs. 7 Exxons & all US farmland & $1t cash 03-02-11 Read more

As we enjoy the good times in American agriculture, let's not forget the needs of less fortunate farmers elsewhere around the world

February 21, 2012

When it comes to philanthropists who are especially gifted at finding practical ways to improve our world, Microsoft founder Bill Gates may ultimately prove to be the greatest of them all. And some may find it ironic that the man who made his fortune creating software would now focus so much of his time on agriculture. Read more

Ignore the headlines; there are still good values on Iowa farmland

February 16, 2012


John Kirkpatrick, who manages our business in Iowa, had some good thoughts recently on the attention given recently to prices on Iowa farmland. The sale of a farm for $20,000 an acre popped up on the national media radar screens, just as the eye of the nation was already focused on the state, which was packed full of reporters there to cover the Iowa caucuses.

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Iowa cash leases $400 to $530 in Iowa land lease auction

February 2, 2012

Nobody follows and reports on farmland prices and ag economics quite like Landowner editor and blogger Mike Walsten. Lately, Mike's been on a roll, with a great item on the recent auction of cash leases on 3,000 acres. Lease prices ranged from $400 to $530 per acre. Cash rents tend to lag movements in land prices, so it wouldn't surprise me if we continue to see some strong increases.

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Farmers Dominate the Current Land Market

January 15, 2012

With so much focus on farmland as an investment, it's easy to get the idea that investors are the ones doing all the buying, but the opposite is true. In fact, investors were buying a higher percentage of the farmland in Illinois 2004 than farmers. (Illinois is the only state on which we have statistics, but our auction results reflect the same trend elsewhere.) If we spring forward to 2009, the last year the data was available, we see farmers were purchasing twice as much Illinois farmland as investors.

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Resources for staying on top of ag industry

January 9, 2012

We've come a long way from the time -- just a few years ago -- when we relied on the postman to bring us our newsletters and magazines on the agriculture industry, and when "networking" consisted largely of attending conferences.

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Debt on farmland is lower than in the 1980s

January 2, 2012

People who fret about farmland prices getting too high tend to be overlooking the very low amount of debt owed by American farmers. The average U.S. farmer currently owes $9 for each $100 worth of assets. In the early 1980s, the average farmer owed $22 on every $100 worth of assets.

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About Murray Wise

Murray Wise founded the Westchester Group in 1986 after acquiring the Champaign, IL division of the Sandage Companies, a traditional farm management and brokerage firm…

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