US Farmland values sliding in most states

Until two years ago, United States farmland values had been on the rise since 1953 at an average yearly increase of about 13 percent. But, according to recent Agriculture Department figures, only 11 states posted land-value gains in 1982; Texas, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and six New England states.

Up until April 1983, the worst decline in land values -- due to high interest rates and low farm income -- was felt in the Corn Belt. Here, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri showed decreases of about 13 percent.

Big losers, the department's Economic Research Service says, are farmers who purchased land in 1981-82 at high interest rates. The average acre of US farmland is now valued at $744, compared with $789 last year and $795 in 1981.

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