- Pension funds, institutional funds, and insurance companies are investing millions of dollars in California farmland. More foreign buyers are also making inroads into the California agricultural scene.
Farms for sale in California are growing in demand according to Schuil & Associates, a leader in farm sales in Fresno, Tulare, Kern & Kings counties. Co-founder Michael Schuil states that “Farmland prices typically follow commodity prices; when the commodity prices are strong the farmland prices are also strong. Commodity prices for citrus, dairy, nuts, and grains are healthy; therefore prices are on the rise.”
The Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner reported that Fresno County’s 2010 agricultural commodity production values rose 11.17 percent from the 2009 values.
The 2011 values should also see increases attributed to ample water supplies and steady markets. Kings and Tulare Counties have seen similar value growths, with improved milk prices driving the much of the escalation. Farmland prices bear out a Schuil & Associates premise. The average price per acre for farmland sold in 2010 through the Fresno Multiple Listing Service was $10,550 in 2010. The 2011 year to date average is $11,553 per acre, a 9.51 percent increase over the previous year.
Schuil states that the buyer base is also growing. Local farmers still make up the majority of buyers, but increasingly more non-farmers are acquiring farms for sale. Investment minded buyers are among the fastest growing. Pension funds, institutional funds, and insurance companies are investing millions of dollars in California farmland. Farms are seen as a way to diversify their portfolios while showing long term growth potential. Schuil also states that more and more foreign buyers are also making inroads into the California agricultural scene.
High yielding areas are very important in determining farm values. The farmland in Fresno County, Tulare County, Kern County and Kings County has some of the most fertile soils in the world, which make the area adaptable to numerous types of crops. However, even the most fertile soils need ample water to grow high yielding crops. The Central Valley has an intricate surface water delivery system and sufficient underground aquifers that provide the water. Although some west side farms are in jeopardy of short water supplies, most of the Valley has adequate water to meet the farming needs.
Schuil & Associates has been selling agricultural real estate for 28 years and has not seen farmland in this high of demand since the Reagan Tax credits in the 1980’s. Michael Schuil states, “It is a very good time for farm sellers. Demand is cyclical and if someone is considering selling their land they should consider selling it now. ” Sellers may contact Schuil & Associates through their website at http://www.schuil.com to request a property evaluation from one of their real estate farm experts.