May 16, 2011

US Farmland Values 1971-2011

According to John Authers of the FT, a recent conference of Certified Financial Accountants produced gossipy recommendations to buy gold, emerging market currencies, and US farmland. For farmland, the logic is that "agricultural demand is rising and will not go away" but that the "febrile situation in developing countries rules out their farmland as an option – the chance of political disruption to supply is just too great. So buy US farmland – it is a real asset, and it can only grow more valuable as the shortage of agricultural commodities grows more acute. And, indeed, last year the price of good farmland in Iowa rose by 18 per cent, according to the Federal
Reserve Bank of Chicago, with plenty of anecdotal evidence that prices are continuing too increase." Authers then cautions, however, that to get in to such investments "is to make a bet that a bubble is under way and that you will have the wits to get out before that bubble bursts."

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