Demand for quality land continues to be very strong in the North Central Region including Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and South Dakota, according to Sam Kain, area sales manager for Farmers National Company in Iowa and Minnesota. Auction numbers in this region are up over 2011, leading to top sales prices for sellers.

"Farmers National Company has completed 49 auctions in this area during the first four months of 2012, compared to 20 auctions during the same period last year," said Kain. "Demand is still outpacing the number of properties available, and quality is definitely king."

"The bulk of buyers are still farmers," said Kain. "However, despite continued strong land activity, higher cash rents and input costs are narrowing farmer profits. Only a quarter of purchases in the beginning of the year have gone to investors."

In Iowa, top quality land is selling at over $10,500 per acre, Minnesota values are reaching $8,000 per acre, and values in eastern South Dakota have reached $7,000.

North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota

The land market is very strong in the Upper Midwest Region, which includes North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota, according to Terry Longtin, area sales manager for Farmers National Company in this region.

"Buyers are looking for quality land or less productive land that can be improved," said Longtin.

There are fewer properties for sale, as absentee owners and investors are holding onto their land. According to Longtin, increasing net rents and land appreciation is fueling continued ownership.

'Most land is being sold to farmers in the immediate area to expand operations," said Longtin.

In North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota, land values are up over 15 percent in the last six months and up nearly 30 percent over the last year. Top quality land values are in the $5,000 to $7,000 per acre range, according to Longtin. "Average land values are hitting the $3,000 - $4,000 range, with marginal land values in the $1,500 - $3,000 range," said Longtin. "Many farmers are purchasing land out of the Conservation Reserve Program, and then making land improvements which are bringing them immediate returns."