David A. Widmar
Farmers in coffee shops across the U.S. Corn Belt are talking about it. Agricultural economist are talking about it. Even the Federal Reserve is monitoring it. Everyone in agriculture has watched farmland values across the Corn Belt and Plains soar in recent years and the question on everyone’s mind is what the future has in store. Most concerning, will the farmland boom lead to a bust?
And while we have a lot of data and thoughts about farmland values available on our website, such as here and here, we aren’t going to dive into that topic, directly, with this post. Instead, we wanted to have some fun and evaluate the amount of attention the topic of a farmland bubble has created. The below image show the number of stories, or media hits, that have been published about a farmland bubble over the past fifteen-years.
From this we can observe a few things. First, there is almost always some chatter about farmland bubbles. Be it coming from perpetual pessimists thinking the sky could fall at any (and every) point in time, or from discussions of the 1980’s, there always appears to be some level of farmland bubble chatter going on.
Second, the current level of chatter is substantially greater than the hundred or-so stories published annually in the early 2000’s. In fact, there were nearly 9 time the number of stories about farmland bubble published last year (2013) than in 1999.
Finally, the level of chatter in recent years, mainly since 2011, has waxed and waned. Stories on farmland bubbles were most frequent in 2011. Since then, fewer stories were reported in 2012 and 2013, but a bounce in 2013 over 2012 is reported.
With the five months of 2014 (Jan. 1 to May 31) reporting 343 articles, we know that the concern of a farmland bubble in the media is not going away this year.
Want to learn more about farmland values and the risk of a bubble? For those interested in learning more, click here to follow the blog and stay connected as we will continue to observe these trends and continue providing the data, charts, and insights.
Photo by Johnny Klemme