Calculating Acres

We had a good run of auctions throughout the state. We sold farms in Woodbury, Scott, Muscatine, Hardin, and Marshall County. The market seems to be holding well, just as the latest Realtors Land Institute survey indicated. In my opinion, the 1% increase for the last 6 months has a stabilizing effect on the market.

Recently I was asked a good question regarding how we determine the acres that we are selling on a particular farm. The individual questioned why I was marketing the farm as 76 acres, when the county assessor said there was only 73.28 acres. In most cases, the assessor information does not include roads. Normally, you own to the middle of the road. Each ¼ mile of road frontage amounts to 1 acre of land. For example, on a 160-acre tract with roads on two sides, that amounts to 4 acres. The acres listed at the courthouse cannot be changed, unless you provide the county with a survey that shows a different number than what they show. You cannot get it changed by taking a FSA map with tillable acres, as those acres can be changed at the discretion of the county committee.

At my auctions I disclose to the potential buyers the gross acres, taxable acres, and tillable acres. I have enough confidence in the knowledge my buyers have, that having been supplied with this information they can figure out what they want to bid on the farm. For the seller it usually gets down to the total dollars the bid is at, while the buyer concentrates more on the cost per tillable acre, which is where they are going to get their income from. Some realtors calculate their sale acres differently than I do. It does not make either of us wrong, as long as we are giving our buyers and sellers good information, along with the ability to explain and justify it.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter weekend...