Farm real estate values, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $2,350 per acre on Jan. 1. That figure represents an 8.8 percent increase from the same date in 2007 and sets a new record for agricultural land values, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Both cropland and pasture values set records for 2008, with cropland values rising 10 percent to $2,970 per acre and pasture value up 6 percent to $1,230 per acre.

The Northeast region has the highest average farm real estate values at $5,080 per acre. The Northern Plains region had the lowest farm real estate value, at $1110 per acre, but also saw the largest annual increase in pasture values, which climbed 19.7 percent over those of one year earlier. In the Corn Belt region, cropland values rose 14.8 percent to $4,260 per acre, while pasture land averaged $2,220 per acre, an increase of 10.4 percent.

In the Southern Plains region, farmland overall increased 12 percent to $1,490 per acre, and pasture land in the region increased over 17 percent. Pasture land in the Mountain region increased 6.4 percent over one year earlier.

According to the report, strong commodity prices and farm programs, outside investments, favorable interest rates and tax incentives are the primary factors driving farm real estate values to record levels.   The report cites livestock prices, recreational use and urban development as predominant influences behind pasture land values.

For the full report, click here.