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Solving the Tricky Riddle of Land Valuation

The U.S. land transactions market is a big one: hundreds of millions of acres representing an estimated worth of $400 billion.

Many types of purchasers buy this farmland—from people who make a living on the land, developing a deep connection to the soil along the way, to investors who purchase new land to expand their existing portfolio. Despite their innate differences, every type of land buyer—and seller—faces the same dilemma:

How can I accurately determine the worth of any given parcel?

Economists say the “value” of a good or service is what the buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to accept at the same point in time. It’s a clear-cut definition that applies to other markets—but unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to land transactions.

That’s because a wider variety of criteria must be considered in order to accurately determine land valuation. At the same time, the perspective through which different types of land buyers value land varies widely according to their intention for the land.

Due to these contingencies, until recently, the market lacked valid and objective land data upon which buyers and sellers could base purchase decisions—a situation that resulted in different people pricing the same parcel of land in wildly different ways.

But now there’s a new way to confidently and accurately determine land value, with objectivity and validity. By uniquely blending publicly available data with proprietary, science-driven insights, a new valuation process gives stakeholders who aren’t personally familiar with a piece of land comprehensive data about it—and a new, common language for understanding it.

With it, anyone evaluating U.S. farmland can enjoy an unprecedented scale and depth of information about each parcel.