Source: Farmers National Co. news release
“The Pacific Northwest is sitting stagnant in regards to sales and offerings of land at the present time. Dryland prices have not varied much in the past 10 to 15 years. Irrigated land prices have skyrocketed over the past 5 to 10 years but have now plateaued as there have not been many properties change hands” according to Flo Sayre, real estate broker for Farmers National Company.
Permanent plantings (Orchards, blueberries and vineyards) are at a standstill. Labor, immigration, higher wages, H2A rulings and lawsuits, plus the trade paralysis with the Pacific Rim countries has created much uncertainty. There is a glut of apples, blueberries and wine grapes in production in the west. In addition, banks have tightened lending requirements and nearly created a lending freeze for growers who are marginal in qualifying for a loan. Additional land may come on the market in the future due to financial stress.
New investment partnership programs with buy-back options are appealing to some farmers and ranchers. This may be a workable solution for a financially stressed producer while others will not opt for it.
Overall, the economy is good for most row crops. Permanent planting farms are in distress and the dryland grain region is holding steady. The volatility of agriculture across the region is not new. There have been these cycles before and most growers will try to ride out the storm.