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Rising farmland values in west central Minnesota continue to shift tax burden

GRANITE FALLS — Ever rising farmland values are continuing to shift the property tax burden to agricultural lands.

Connie Erickson, Yellow Medicine County assessor, was among the first of county assessors in the area to report on her new assessments for the coming year. In a report Tuesday to the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners, she said the analysis of sales last year has led to an average overall increase of 36 percent in tillable land values in the county. The actual increases varied by township, with a 52 percent hike in Lisbon Township north of Clarkfield representing the largest jump. Farmland values vary significantly from west to east in the 60-mile long county, with values ranging from $4,708 per acre on the west end to $7,806 per acre on the east.

Erickson said values are still headed upward. She reported that there were some recently recorded sales of more than $9,000 per acre that will be used to calculate next year’s assessments. Neighboring counties to the east and south are seeing sales of more than $13,000 per acre, she said.

While farmland values continue to rise, Erickson said residential and commercial sales in the county have been relatively stable, and no significant changes are being made in assessments in the county’s larger communities.

The net effect is that a greater share of the overall property tax burden in the county continues to be shifted to farm properties. She noted that farmland owners are also seeing the rising values put their overall property value over the $1.29 million homestead limit. Consequently they are paying non-homestead tax rates on more of their acres than in the past.

She said the market for farmland remains very aggressive. She has seen cases where it does not seem to matter whether the land is tiled or improved. “If you’re not willing to pay $9,000 (per acre), there are probably five people behind you who will,” she said of the competition for land.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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