AcreValue’s Valuation Model – Part 1

Whether you own or operate farmland, land is a critical asset. Its value weighs heavily in financing options, buy-sell decisions, rental potential and investment returns. Understanding values takes time and research, and “AcreValues” can help you gain some market perspective.

What farmers and landowners are asking:

  • What is an AcreValue, and does my farm have one?
  • How can I compare my farms with others (e.g., potential sale or rent)?
  • Can I get an AcreValue for a field I define myself (e.g., for estate planning)?
  • Is an AcreValue a replacement for an appraisal?

What is an AcreValue?

An “AcreValue” is an estimate of a parcel’s market value that comes from a model developed by a team of data scientists, engineers, and real estate consultants. AcreValue provides values for over 130 million acres of land in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, California’s Central Valley, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, as well as parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, South Dakota, Florida, and Oklahoma. If you look at the coverage map on AcreValue.com, the orange areas in the map indicate where there are value estimates, and the model is continuously being updated.

The model is based on a combination of real world land sales data plus other key variables. Values for a state or county are not released unless and until there is adequate land sales data, and the team feels that the model’s predictions are reliable enough. That’s why, for example, you see areas in central Nebraska where there are no AcreValues. If your farm does not have an AcreValue, check back as coverage is continuing to expand.

Renting or Selling? Use AcreValues for Comparisons

Many farmers and landowners use AcreValue value estimates to make comparisons, since AcreValue provides both parcel values and county averages. For example, the estimated value of the Central Illinois corn-soybean farm shown below is $8,790, which is about 13% below the $10,146 county average. Its average soil productivity index is 129.9, which is also below the 132.8 county average. This would give you important market data about the sales or rental value of the land.

Easily generate reports on recent land sales in your area and compare their AcreValues and productivity indices to your farm’s.

Get an AcreValue on a Field You Define Yourself

We realize that farmers and landowners may want an estimated value on only part of an existing parcel (e.g., gifting, estate planning, potential sale or rent). So AcreValue designed drawing tools that allow you to create your own “custom boundary,” such as a smaller tillable field or half a parcel. (Here’s how to create a custom boundary.) You’ll notice that certain parcels or custom boundaries don’t have valuations — AcreValue only predicts on parcels that are at or over 50% tillable, over 10 acres, and are not highly improved with buildings.

Is an AcreValue a Substitute for an Appraisal?

An AcreValue is one more data point to help you keep abreast of the land market. It’s simply an automatically calculated, unbiased starting point for you to consider and build upon.

An AcreValue is not a replacement for an opinion of market value developed by a professional rural appraiser. This is particularly true if you are considering a land transaction or conveyance. An appraiser will provide a detailed analysis that takes into account your specific needs and the intended use (e.g., lending purposes, gifting, buy/sell) of the valuation.

In Summary

We hope Part 1 has answered key questions from farmers and landowners who use the AcreValue values to compare their farms to others. In Part 2, we’ll address common questions from land professionals (e.g., brokers, appraisers) on AcreValue model’s inner workings. Stay tuned!


Adrian leads the AcreValue data science team at Granular. Previously, he held roles at Google, The Climate Corporation, and Goldman Sachs. Adrian holds a BA and MS from Stanford University, as well as a PhD from the Toulouse School of Economics.

LeeAnn directs industry marketing for AcreValue. She has held various roles with agricultural asset management, sales, and valuation companies and has written extensively on farm real estate and valuation. LeeAnn holds a BSc in Animal Science from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois.

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